Are you prepared to respond to God’s call to work for His Kingdom? Are you prepared to change the environments in which you live for Christ? If you answered yes to these two questions, do you have a plan to direct and guide your efforts? May I suggest that you need to have more than just a plan, you need to have a battle plan? Do you have one?
This past weekend I was invited to serve on a men’s Cursillo retreat. Please permit to share a brief synopsis of what I spoke about with these men. The title of my talk was the STUDY OF ENVIRONMENTS.
We are all engaged in a war. Our war is not with the other people. Our war is between Christ in us and the forces of evil. Make no mistake, we are at war with the evil one and therefore we need a battle plan to win the war.
First let me address what I mean by environments. By this I mean our families, workplaces, clubs, associations, social groupings and leisure time activities etc. If we hope to change these areas and bring them to Christ we must first study them to determine their group spirit.
Every grouping or association of people develops its own group spirit. That group spirit influences and impacts those individuals who make up the group. Also we must understand that within every environment there are people who exert more influence on that environment than that environment itself exerts on them. Some people effect the environment for the good and others have a negative impact. Some environments seem to have a Christian spirit and others seem to stifle the Christian spirit.
If we expect an environment to become a Christ-centered environment, then someone with Christ in their heart must become the agent of change. Are you willing to be that person?
For change to occur we must recognize that there are three battlefronts. Those battlefronts are:
- The environment
All change must begin with us! We are the first battlefront. Are we living truly authentic and sincere Christian lives or are we instead wearing false masks just to make others think we are Christians? We must BE CHRISTIAN not just do Christian things. We will know if we are authentic. GOD KNOWS TOO!
To change ourselves we must have the WILL to change. Once we have the will to change we first must take this will to God in PRAYER. After prayerfully asking God to direct our will to His service we must make up our MIND to actually do God’s will and not our own. By following this plan we can move God from our head to our HEART. If God resides our hearts we will finally be in a position to influence others in our environments with our love for Jesus Christ. Notice the formula for our personal change was:
The second battlefront is OTHERS. Assuming that we have adequately surveyed our environments and we have determined who in these environments are exerting the most influence, we need to have the right plan to bring about the change of these individuals. The plan to bring about change in others is uniquely different from the plan that we used with ourselves.
With others we must start with their HEART and friendship is the key. We have all heard the expression: “people will care what you know when they know that you care.” If someone in one of your environments is a key influencer in that environment take the time to become a true genuine friend with this person. This takes time. Remember to talk to God in prayer about this person before you talk to this person about God. Be authentic with this person and allow the Holy Spirit to guide your actions. Don’t jump into theological discussions and debates right out of the starting gate, just be their friend.
MAKE A FRIEND, BE A FRIEND, BRING A FRIEND TO CHRIST
It is important to remember that our goal is to bring this person to CHRIST not, to bring them to our church or our ministry or to any movement we might be involved in. Bringing the person to Christ should be our guiding motivation.
Once we have won over their heart, we can move to winning over their MIND. Whether or not someone is a Christian, they have a Christ sized hole in their heart. If they have become your friend, it will be much easier to, with grace, reach their intellect. If they know you care, reasoning becomes easier.
Ultimately, the people we are trying to reach with the good news of Jesus Christ do have their own free will. We cannot nor should not try to force God upon them. They must decide freely to unite their WILL to the will of God.
A person who has converted their heart, mind and will to the service of God, will naturally turn to PRAYER. They will give thanks to God in prayer for all He has done for them and they in turn will want to share this newly found good news with others.
Finally, if we have put our hearts, minds and wills prayerfully to the service of God and we have through friendship reached out to others and they too have prayerfully chosen to turn their heart, minds and wills over to God, in time, the spirit of the entire environment will be brought in line with the spirit of God. If we all do our part in the environments in which we live, we can in time win the entire world for our Lord.
With the proper battle plan and a well thought out strategy to conquer all three battlefronts, Christ working through us will change the world.
Most Heavenly Father please unite my will to yours in the work of your Kingdom. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ your son, amen!
I extend my heartfelt prayers for both the men on the team as well as the candidates of Men’s Cursillo #78 in the Diocese of Charlotte, NC. It was a blessing to be with you this past weekend.
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