Personal Evangelism Day 5: Obstacles to Evangelism: Idol Spotting
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
“So if we know why we should witness and we’re still not willing to witness, then it’s because our hearts are somewhere else. It’s because actually what we most want is a comfortable life, or a good reputation with friends and colleagues, or a nice settled existence with our family, and so on.” This is a quote from author Rico Tice from his book Honest Evangelism. As Christians, we must always examine our hearts to ensure Christ is given the priority He deserves. He says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The Lord Jesus must always be at the center of our lives. Everything we do should revolve around bringing glory to His name.
Idols pose a threat to His having His rightful place in our hearts. What is an idol? An idol is a representation of God, used as an object of worship, but it can also be something that takes the place of God in our lives. Idols can come in all sorts of different forms and it’s important that we spot them in our lives. According to Rico Tice, to spot idols in our lives, there are four questions we can ask:
- What do you daydream about? (things you care most about having)
- What do you have nightmares about? (things you care most about losing)
- What do you pray about? (things you pray for above God’s will and salvation)
- What do you need in life that, if you get it, then you’ll live for God? (things that have to be in place for you to serve God)
God wants to be the priority in our lives—and He should be. If ANYTHING else comes before him, it’s an idol. As I thought about this in my own life, I realized that some of the idols weren’t necessarily “bad.” They seemed like reasonable things, but if they were taking God’s place in my heart, they needed to be removed. Psalm 139:23 (NIV) says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart… See if there is any offensive way in me.” We should pray not only that God will help us identify the idols in our lives but also give us the strength to remove them.
Rico Tice said, “If we are to share Christ, we first need to love Christ.” We can all have ambition and knowledge of the truth, but if we don’t love Christ enough to give Him priority in our lives, we will never cross the “pain line” to begin to tell others about Christ. Think about this for a minute. Let’s say you have a family member you deeply care about. You would never want them to experience pain or heartache in their lives; they mean too much to you. However, year after year passes and you never present the gospel to them, because you’re afraid your relationship with them might be at stake or you aren’t sure how they’ll respond. Now imagine the one you love, the one you want no harm to come to, standing before the throne of God and being sentenced to eternal punishment. Heart-breaking, isn’t it?
Nothing should stand in our way of telling others about Christ. Nothing in this temporary world should hold greater value than what will last forever in eternity. Ask yourself, how much do I love Christ? How much do I love the people around me? If we love our God and the people around us, we will examine things in our lives that prevent us from telling people about God’s love and seek to remove those things. As Christians, we can’t afford to make excuses, or just live a comfortable life. God has called us to tell the world about His Son, no matter what it may cost us.