Proverbs 11:30 (TPT)
30 But a life lived loving God bears lasting fruit, for the one who is truly wise wins souls
In 1855, preacher Joseph M. Scriven wrote a poem to comfort his mother called ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’. It was later composed into a well-known hymn sung by Aretha Franklin and many others.
The poem illustrates the depth of relationship and daily interactions we can expect to have with Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, as believers. Through trails, tribulations, moment of weakness, grief, joy, celebrations, accomplishments, victories, friendships, charity and love – God is there to guide us, comfort us, sustain us and equip us. The poem paints a picture of a life shaped by companionship and compassion.
When it comes to evangelism, we can often make the mistake of focusing on our role as ‘tellers’ or ‘proclaimers’ and forget to focus on how much God longs to be with people, all people, not just Christians. We can forget how He sees, knows, and cares for them and wants to be walking with them. We can forget how much He deeply desires to be their friend and can quite easily solve their problems, not to mention wipe away their sin.
Proverbs 11:30 gives us two keys. The first part of the verse inspires us to be loving God and to be walking with Him. Like Moses, to be His friend and to know Him (Ex. 33:11). Once we’re doing this, we intrinsically understand that it is selfish to keep this perfect love to ourselves. In 2 Cor. 5:14 we read “the love of Christ compels us”. This is the foundation of our motivation. We appreciate the immense value we have in our own relationship with God and we understand how important this is for others – not just in eternity, but now.
Where we need wisdom, is to understand individually how to help each person to begin to reach out to God for themselves. We know that “whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13). The good news is, we’re confident that God is already at work in this person revealing Himself to them. As Christians, our lives are on display as friends of God. It’s our opportunity to continue to develop our friendship with God so that our lives remain fruitful and fulfilled. Once we truly know God, we know that He loves all people. We know that He has incredible compassion for the lost and a desperate longing to help the poor. The gift of salvation is friendship with God, as well as forgiveness, atonement, redemption, reconciliation, sanctification and so on. On understanding this we continue to look for ways we can help people to reach out to Him and to know His love. Why not ask God to give you eyes to see what He sees. For Him to open the understanding of your heart and for you to get a sense of what other people’s lives are like without Him and the difference it will make when they do know Him.
Written by Tara Cheesman