Very challenging words from Bill Hybells

I’ve been (slowly) reading “Just Walk Across The Room” by Bill  Hybells ever since I got it for Christmas. I’m still less than half way through it, but so far, I can’t recommend it enough! Last night, Steph and I were curled up in front of the fireplace reading, and these two pages really jumped off the page, so I thought I’d pass them on.

I know this is fairly length, but if you would consider yourself a follower of Christ, I really encourage you to give it a read, and then respond:

Perhaps you’re the type who agrees that evangelism needs to happen. You really do want for people to be directed toward God. But somewhere along the way, you decided that the task is reserved for spiritual superstars who can muscle a faith discussion into any conversation, anywhere, anytime. Your self-talk goes something like this: “I don’t have the right confidence level or the right skills. I don’t have the quick mind, the relational aptitude, or the gift mi. I just don’t have what it takes.” Some of you really do believe, for one reason or another, that you are disqualified from or ill-equipped for the work of evangelism.

 For those of you in this category, what perplexes me about your paradigm is the disequilibrium that must characterize your life. Here’s my point: If you genuinely think that evangelism should be a critical functioning the life of a Christ-follower, but you also fully believe that you are unfit to evangelize, at some point don’t you have to reconcile the two? I’m just curious how you live inside of that reality without the pressure to share your faith weighing you down and without guilt utterly overtaking you.

The issue used to really stump me, but over the years I’ve seen something play out that begins to address how many people salve their consciences: they make horse trades with God — little side bargains with the King of the universe. Sure, they’d never admit this in front of civilized people, but privately they come to God and say, “I’m really not cut out to take walks across rooms, God. I’m terribly uncomfortable with risk, edge, and adventure. And frankly, this whole ‘mystical’ realm is more unnerving than I can even articulate!”

They continue to chatter away to God, secretly hoping He’ll momentarily withhold His response while they hurriedly get to the best part of the arrangement. “But here’s my deal, God. I will get all over spiritual development. I will be a Bible knowledge hound! If You want, I’ll throw myself into building Habitat for Humanity homes — every summer, in fact. I will climb all over volunteerism — I’ll show up at church five nights a week if You ask me to. You let me off the evangelism hook, and I’ll prove my love for You a half-down other ways if it kills me. That’s my deal.”

I’ve seen scores of Christ-followers get so cut off, having horse-traded away any sense of responsibility or adventure about reaching people that they actually get annoyed with those outside of the kingdom of God.

Instead of walking toward people who need God’s redemptive love, they step into a mode of no longer wanting anything to do with them. Self-proclaimed followers of Jesus Christ develop an aversion to nonbelievers, going to all lengths to avoid the exact people Christ came to redeem.

…And if I’m forced to nail it down, I see only one problem with this cocooning pattern: it is the polar opposite of the way of Christ.