“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus…”
See Colossians 3:17
Have you ever felt pressured as a Christian? Maybe you’ve been taught to “Be radical!” or to “Make disciples of disciples!” but you’re not sure how to do such things. Maybe you’ve trembled in your seat as the preacher yelled, “Get out there and change the world! If you don’t, the world’s blood will be on your hands!”
My friend, that’s a big, hot crock of you know what. If you are feeling pressure, that’s not coming from God. It’s coming from religious people who find their identity in what they do, it’s coming from old, stinking thinking, and it’s coming from hell. Please understand this: God does not pressure you. He counsels you, He’s patient, kind, and loving. He wants you to stop worrying so much and enjoy Him! (See Luke 10:41-42, 12:25, Matthew 6:27).
Further, as a Christian, nobody’s blood will be on your hands for anything. That’s an Old Testament verse from Ezekiel being pulled out of context to try to motivate you with fear. The grace-confused Christians use this passage to generate stress and anxiety. They think such a method is the only way to motivate people, but panic is the worst kind of motivation out there.
The Law-loving person might yell at me, “Yeah right, Matt! God has called us to witness! If we don’t, we will be held accountable!”
Nope. Christians won’t be held accountable for anything. What in the world do you think the Cross was for? We Christians will enjoy meeting our Maker, we won’t have to tuck our tail and say, “Did I do alright?” The Bible says we can have confidence on the day of judgment because God’s love has been made complete in us (see 1 John 4:17). It’s just sick that people twist the gospel into something that it’s not–as if Jesus’ sacrifice didn’t fully work.
But the religious folk are dying to have their ears tickled by pastors who brag on all of their wonderful evangelism. It’s really sad. Listen, friend, Jesus came to put your mind at ease, not to cause you to freak out about letting people know about Him. Look at what He said:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
REST! Jesus came so that we can rest! Today’s fake Promise Keepers, like the Pharisees of old, think that their amazing religious works are earning them status with God. The truth is, Jesus wants us all to just chill out.
“Matt! How can you say that?! If we don’t get out there each day and let the world know about Him, we will be liable!”
Liable for what? The salvation of the world? Sounds demonic to me! Again, what do you think Jesus died for?! Was it so we can witness until our witnesser falls off?! Did He die so we can live a stressed out life, trying to be sure we feel good about ourselves as we become religious weirdos?! NO! We are not responsible for the salvation of the world, Jesus is!
“So are you saying that we shouldn’t do anything at all?!”
No, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying…relax. Rest. Take a deep breath and be still. Only in a state of resting and knowing that you are secure in Christ, will you begin to live out your witnessing, organically.
Friend, we are simply created beings, we are not God. We get saved by grace, we live by grace, and we witness by grace. We change the world by grace. Grace equals zero pressure, ever. There is no stress or strain on us, all of the pressure is on Jesus. He can handle it just fine. Pressure is a red flag. Pressure is anti-gospel. God did not make His home in us so we can be exacerbated each day, He simply wants us to be ourselves as heaven-ready saints.
Believe it or not, you’re not responsible for a single person making it to heaven–God is. You are a branch, you are not the vine. The gospel will be spread, somehow, someway. Even if we no longer have the ability to let others know about Jesus, the rocks will cry out! (Luke 19:40). Nothing will stop this message.
Over time, planet earth will be infected by the love of Jesus, God promises (see Mark 16:15). For this reason, we don’t need to wake up each day and feel as if we must do something or else God’s gonna get us–because He’s not. He understands your life and He empathizes with all of your circumstances. He is with you from the time you have your coffee, until the time you lay your head down at night. He’s working through you, mundane moment by mundane moment. He doesn’t just show up when you talk about Him, He’s with you all the time! (See Philippians 2:13).
“Okay, Matt. I think I see what you are saying. So what do we do?”
Be yourself. You are complete in Christ, and you’re a good person inside (see Colossians 1:22). If you believe Jesus is your Savior, His Spirit lives in you in full (see 1 Corinthians 6:19). He will guide you every second of the day. Not only that, but you, your spirit, wants to do the same things His Spirit does! It’s a beautiful relationship! You’re not at battle with yourself or God–THAT’S BAD TEACHING! You actually want what God wants! (See Galatians 2:20, Romans 6:6-7, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Hebrews 10:16, Romans 6:17).
So as you simply be yourself in your everyday life–and you are relaxed–you will do more for God than you’ve ever done before! So relax.
“But what about the people overseas? What about mission work, church work, and evangelism?”
All of that stuff will happen organically. Trust me. I don’t talk about it much, but I’ve been on both ends of this spectrum. For a time, the devil had me convinced that I had to “Get the world to believe, and fast!” As a result, I just about drove myself crazy “trying” to spread the love of Jesus, when all along, all I had to do was stop trying, chill out, and start trusting! It’s an indescribable paradox, you’ll see.
The author of Hebrews attempts to put it in words:
“Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest” (see Hebrews 4:11)
The strangest thing happened to me once I began to strive to enter God’s rest. I began to be more evangelistic than ever before–because I knew I didn’t have to be. Peter wrote to the early Church, letting them know the secret formula which I finally found:
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (see 1 Peter 3:15)
Be ready. Be prepared. Be yourself. If you want to go to Africa, go. If you don’t, don’t. God is with you either way and He lets you pick. Good dads give their kids choices. He’s proud of you no matter what, and you’re in His Family for good! (See John 1:12, Ephesians 2:19). It’s impossible to be out of the will of God, once you place your faith in Jesus. If that sentence upsets you, then you still don’t understand what Jesus has truly done for you.
So today, my friends, know this: To change the world as a Christian, relax. Sure, at first, this freedom will be strange, you’ll be using it to figure things out. It will take time to recalibrate how you talk to others about God. But eventually, you will come to understand that God is in you and He lives through you, so your life speaks for itself every single day! You are a light for the world! You’re a light while you do laundry, you’re a light while you sit in your cubicle, you’re a light in the mission field, and you’re a light while you smile at people during your child’s ball game. You are changing the world for the better! Keep being yourself! God is very proud to call you His own!
A prayer for you: Father, thank you for the understanding you’ve given me about how I’m supposed to change the world. I was taught all wrong for so many years. I was taught that if I wasn’t constantly rushing, you’d be mad at me, and people would be going to hell BECAUSE of me. Thank you for teaching me those were lies. Your Word says in 1 Corinthians 13, that you keep no record of my wrongs. It also says that you protect me, trust me, and that you always have hope in me. Thank you for revealing these truths! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who have been incorrectly taught that the salvation of the world is on their shoulders, give them rest today. Reveal to them that such a pressure was only put on Jesus, and He handled it perfectly. Teach them how to simply wake up each day and be themselves, and that by doing so, they will naturally alter the course of humanity, for the better! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 3. Get your copy here!