30 Jun “The Act of Evangelism Cannot Fulfill Me.”
One of the biggest things I’m learning on City Project is more about my need for the truth of the Gospel. I’ve known that the Gospel is more than just the entry point into Christianity, but I’ve never understood exactly what it looks like to daily abide in the Gospel. This summer I’ve been able to see real examples of this in the lives of leaders and those around me. And now, I’m beginning to understand that only by living out of the power of the Gospel are we able to live the Christian life.
Through the book we’re reading, God has taught me that if we don’t first understand His acceptance of us, His love for us proven on the cross, and the value He ascribes to us, then obedience to Christ becomes self-seeking. In loving and serving others, we instead seek our own approval, recognition, and sense of worth. We can only live selflessly when we first understand and find our worth in the Gospel, God’s acceptance of us.
Tim Keller, in his book Jesus the King, says it this way:
“How can we escape this self-referential trap and truly become unselfish? …We need to look at Jesus. If he is indeed a substitutionary sacrifice, if he has paid for our sins, if he has proved to our insecure, skittish little hearts that we are worth everything to him, then we have everything we need in him. It’s all a gift to us by grace. We don’t do good things in order to connect to God or to feel better about ourselves.”
During our week of evangelism training in New York, God revealed my idol of other’s acceptance and approval. Even through witnessing, I sought recognition, approval of others, and a sense of self-worth. Instead of gaining these things though, I felt a great sense of inadequacy and inability to communicate the Gospel.
I realized that the act of evangelism cannot fulfill me. I cannot gain God’s acceptance through these things. Christ gives me worth. Nothing I do can make God love me more or less, including sharing the gospel.
Believing and understanding this has changed the way I see myself and the way I see those around me. Sharing the gospel is not how I receive acceptance from God but an expression of the acceptance I have already received from God. Instead of sharing the Gospel for selfish gain, the truth of the Gospel has actually freed me to share it out of a genuine love for others. Experiencing this freedom during our weekly evangelism nights in Durham has been awesome!
Through all of this, God is giving me vision for life after City Project. I’m looking forward to going back to UNC this fall and sharing with friends. There are a couple of good friendships from last year that I’m hoping will grow deeper through discipleship. It is my prayer that I will be able to share the Gospel with them and that they, as well as all my friends, will see the Gospel in me as I seek to abide in it every day.
Matt Harris, pictured above with his evangelism group in NY, is a rising sophomore at UNC- Chapel Hill.