1/21/17 Jose 40’s
The health clubs are busy early in the year, with people of discipline striving toward self-improvement. Outside an LA Fitness I asked Jose, in his 40’s, on his way in for a workout, about his views on eternal life, which began a long gospel conversation. The basic gist of his beliefs is that after we die, well, lights out, that’s all there is, but if people need some sort of religious belief for meaning, direction, or accountability in life, then he is not one to criticize. He gave the example of his adult son who had a near death experience as a result of his alcoholism, but afterward “found religion” and the power to overcome his addiction. “For him, he needed religion. Me, I had the same problem but I quit cold-turkey and now I work out regularly. I don’t need religion, I just have the self-discipline to solve my problems on my own” he told me.
Jose feels religion is for people with problems, and he isn’t one of them. He feels like he has it together and is pretty happy with his life. So as Christians called to share the Gospel, how can we approach the people we meet who seem to have it all together? Should we just get to know them and wait for some crisis in their life, hoping they’ll run to the Bible or to us as Christians for answers? When Jesus said to “go” therefore and make disciples, did He really mean “wait” and be reactive, or did he actually mean go to where people are at now and be proactive? If He meant “go”, how then can we speak to people who feel like they have it all together?
I told Jose that as a Christian I believe God has dealt everyone a different hand of circumstances in life, and works in our lives in different ways. It sounds like his son needed a crisis to realize his need for the strength God provides. But Jose is blessed with self-discipline, which I believe comes from God. But this blessing can also be a curse in some ways, because it leads people to rely on themselves and their own abilities rather than on God. I went on to talk about the real need in his life, the fact of his sin and his need for forgiveness, and how only in Christ can that need be met. I referred to God’s moral laws, because Galatians 3 says “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Jose felt like he had it all together, but the mirror of God’s word showed him that he did not.
The Gospel isn’t just for people in an obvious crisis. The truth is, all without Christ are in crisis, the crisis of unforgiven sin and a broken relationship with God. It might seem an impossible task to convince people of this, and a negative task of having to be the one to “rain on their parade”. But let God’s law do its work, and then you can know the joy of bearing the truly good news that there is forgiveness and hope found in Jesus.