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Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
Several weeks ago Terry introduced a model for living in a missional way. The model had five parts to it. For our devotional this week we will ask God to help us grow in devotion to apply that model to our lives. The model included 5 P’s – Pray, Pursue, Prepare, Proclaim, and Plan.
Today P #3 – Pursue trust relationships
Philemon 1:6, “I (Paul) pray that you may be active in sharing your faith so that you may have a full understanding of every good thing you have in Christ.”
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Acts 17:24-27, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth: and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far off.”
Matthew 28:19-20, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me (Jesus). Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
John 3:16. A verse many are familiar with. If you grew up in church you likely memorized it as a child. It is a great reminder of God’s priority. Because He so loved, He gave. He initiated. He pursued. His priority is people knowing and loving him. His pursuit was so relentless that he suffered a painful death and the deepest separation possible. Jesus was in eternal union with the Father and suffered separation on the cross. As we consider pursuing trust relationships with others for the sake of the gospel let’s begin by remembering that God has pursued us.
Pursuing people means that we involve them in our lives. God loves us. God loves them. It is no surprise to God who our family is, who our neighbors are, and who our co-workers are. If He really has determined the times set and the exact places that we should live perhaps He has done that for a reason. Perhaps He has done that so that people would reach out to Him and find Him even though He is not far off.
Pursuing people does not mean that we make people our projects. Jesus command to His disciples in Matthew 28 is translated more accurately to say, “As you go, make disciples.” For some people as you go means, go overseas. For some it means as you go to build airplanes, or as you go to school. For all of us it means as you go look for opportunities to connect with people whom God loves and then build trust relationships with them.
Building a trusting relationship takes time. The best way to become friends is to do what friends do. Spend time together, eat together, help each other with special projects, play games together, etc.
J.I. Packer in his book Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God said this about personal evangelism and friendships:
The truth is that real personal evangelism is very costly, just because it demands of us a really personal relationship with the other person. We have to give ourselves in honest friendship to people, if ever our relationship with them is to reach the point at which we are justified in choosing to talk to them about Christ and in speaking to them about their own spiritual needs-without being either discourteous or offensive. If you wish to do personal evangelism, then – and I hope you do; you ought to – pray for the gift of friendship. A genuine friendliness is in any case a prime mark of the man who is learning to love his neighbor as himself.
Who are you praying for that you want to grow in friendship with?
How can you pursue a trusting relationship with them?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.