TIL37

The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them.”

(Deuteronomy 1:6–8)   

I don’t know what you think about when you hear the word “evangelism,” but I share this story of the Israelites at Horeb because I think they were stuck there just like we are stuck in distorted notions of what evangelism is. Here’s what I mean: there seem to be two common ways to share the gospel—one focuses on sin and eternal life; the other focuses on grace and life now. One is sold as an insurance policy against hell and the other seeks to save the world from oppression and injustice. One proclaims the fall and redemption. One focuses on creation and restoration. Neither is the whole story. I want us to step out of these old molds and into a new land where creation, fall, struggle, redemption, and restoration is the story we tell.

Reflection Questions

What memories or images does the word “evangelism” conjure for you? How would you define that word if someone unfamiliar with it asked you what it meant?

Reflect on an experience you’ve had with the type of evangelism that focuses primarily on sin and avoiding hell. How did that experience make you feel? What questions did it leave you asking? Reflect on an experience you’ve had with the type of evangelism that focuses primarily on grace and life now. How did that experience make you feel? What questions did it leave you asking?

Now that you’ve made your way through This Invitational Life and come to the end of this devotional, using your own words, how would you share the elements of God’s story—creation, fall, struggle, redemption, and restoration—with someone with whom you’ve built a relationship? (If it’s helpful, start by simply defining each of the elements as you understand them).

Prayer

God, help me to internalize your full story, from creation to restoration. I don’t want to be someone who shies away from certain parts out of fear or because I lack knowledge. I want to walk in the fullness of your truth so that what I share brings the power and weight of the good news. Show me where I need a fuller understanding and lead me on the right path. Redeem my evangelistic efforts for your glory and to further your purposes in this world. Amen.