The BEMA (βῆμα, בּימה ): Good news-ing
I believe that I belong to the Fundamental Power of the Universe, who owns and protects me, Who knows and loves me, Who is available to me at all times and Who has been with me in every trial and joy, pain and grief, exaltation and ecstasy, dizzy, dull and discouraging moments.
I believe that this Power, is personal, witty, compassionate, resourceful, laughing when I laugh, mourning when I mourn, suffering empathetically and even actually when I suffer, because every suffering moment I ever experience has already been experienced and redeemed by my God, who has lived in my type of body and continues to live eternally in a body that I shall inherit in His timing.
I believe that to connect, to know and grow in relationship with this Being of all Beings is Life now, and the beginning of life eternal. And I believe that every other human, with me, too, makes decisions every day which put them either closer or farther away from knowing and enjoying this Being. And I believe that there comes a time when these choices, like reality, bite. There comes a time when the chance to make the decisions that put us God-ward instead of heading the other way, ceases.
I believe that life without Him in this moment is hell. I have tasted life without Him (even when I was a child, I knew the HIM part was metaphor – not gender assignment) and I remember just how bad that life was. And I wish that everyone could taste the actual joy and sanity (meaning overall health) of knowing Him. And I know that my whole relationship with God was transformed from fear and frustration to actual love and respect by meeting Jesus Christ and believing in Him. And I am convinced that my more –or–less loving personality is a result of Jesus sending a Spirit of Himself and the Father in Heaven into me to live as a permanent living connection between the Fundamental Power of the Universe — and me.
But if, or when, He asks me to tell another human being any of these things, and invite them to make the same connection, I want to run the other way. Normally, I am a weasel for Jesus.
But I am reminded that I am an abnormal person in an abnormal situation. Maybe you are too. If we belong to Jesus, we really do not have any excuses. We just aren’t normal. We can’t see things the same way as we used to. What helps me is that I can’t help but notice some things which move me to stick my neck out. I see people who really need Jesus, who need to become like me, who am not who I used to be. Like I was before, they are who we once were. Before. Before Christ.
Remember how we were before? Does that help us care enough to get others out of the B.C. and into that New Year of Our Lord?
You see, it’s not the How of Evangelism that really is the issue. It is the WHY. And most of all, it is the Who.
And frankly, if you or I have never shared, never cared that much, have we any right to claim a living relationship with Jesus?
I will level with you. When I was a teenager, I was given a book by Paul Little, entitled How to Give Away Your Faith. I read the first chapter. It was about how it is not only impossible, but hypocritical, to try to give your faith away until you have one. Quietly I put the book on the shelf. For months. Because I realized my faith was mostly on the outside, I did not read on. I told God that I was not ready. He waited on me for a year, putting me in the company of Christians and reading the Bible in my own language (a good translation that I could really understand and apply), and showing me again and again what a real believer was. Then He pitched me into situations where I was able (I remember the feeling of excitement!) to tell others what now I really DID believe! And I could grasp that, whatever came of my obedience, Jesus was smiling.
I did not wait until I had all the answers. I waited only until my faith was real and working. If your faith is not there yet, by all means do NOT witness. Be honest with yourself, and with God. Tell Him you either are not ready or not really interested. But I warn you, starting honestly with God is the beginning of the slippery slope to loving Him and caring enough to speak out for Him. If you don’t ever want to do that, stay in the B.C. state, but think it over. I’ve been in hell, and I got out. U can 2.
And if you think you are reading this by mistake, or by chance, think again.