So, today, I taught a lesson in our school's FCA (fellowship of christian athletes) club thing... I'm not sure if its a club or a group or what, really.Anyway, I figured that I might as well share the lesson with you all.
In Matthew 5:16, it says "Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven." This is one of the verses that people quote all of the time. Basically, it means that as Christians, we have a duty to be role models for others and teach them about Christ. We have to be a light in the midst of a dark world.
Then, in Luke 8:10, Jesus is talking and it says "The knowledge of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that 'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing thay may not understand.'" Here, he has been speaking to people in parables and teaching them and going around doing miracles and such. He is explaining why he does it all like that. People all learn and understand differently. Some people need to see a miracle to believe, while others can simply hear a passage from the Bible. Therefore, God made us all different so that we have the ability to reveal the truth in all kinds of different ways to all kinds of different people.
God made you the way you are because you have certain interests that can help you reach others. Some of you are meant to just flat out teach a lesson or give a sermon. Others relate based on sports or cooking or books or cars. People understand things when they are put in lamen's terms. Why do you think there are so many different translations and versions of the Bible? Everyone understands differently, so God figured out a way to accomodate that.
In Luke 8:16-17, the Bible talks about how everything will be brought out in the open. Nothing of our lives is secret from God. And God will take anything that we have in our past and pull it out to use it for our purpose. God loves to take those skeletons from our closets and put them out in the open for everyone to see. But those skeletons help people relate to us also. People want to know that we aren't perfect and only by our imperfections has God decided to use his grace to save us.
This summer, I went to youth camp and got the chance to meet a man named Jimmy Needham. He is a Christian music artist who did most of the music during the week at camp. I got to sit down and have lunch with him, along with some other people and talk to him about things in high school and college and music. Then, when I got back from camp, I found out that he had a blog type website. I started reading some of the things that he had posted, and found out that he used to have a porn addiction, but had turned from it and was using his story of change to inspire and teach others.
Just like Jimmy, we all have situations that we've been in or things that we've done that we are not proud of. Even I have some things that I know God will eventually bring out in the open that I am not proud of. But those things help other sinners relate to us. When they can say, "I've been there too", it helps them realize that they can have a success story and turn their life around also. And when God comes calling to get you to bring the skeletons out of your closet or minister to a person who seems very much like a sinner, you should take it from the story of Jonah, God will win.
So don't be afraid to show the world your story of "I'm not who I was" and how God changed you. Don't be afraid to connect to others and bring them to Christ through your weaknesses. God is glorified when we let him take out weaknesses and exploit them with his strengths. And don't be afraid to change tactics with people until you bring them to Christ. Even christ himself changed tactics to win people over for Christianity. He didn't JUST teach or perform miracles. He did it all. And Jesus and his disciples had the consequences of death or torture for reaching people for God. We are free (for the most part) to share the gospel. So be thankful and go out and make disciples of the nations.