When you look at someone who doesn’t know Jesus, do you think, “That person will never come to Christ!” Or do you think, “Not yet.” However you answer that question is a reflection of your theological foundations about evangelism and why Jesus gave his life for all.
Many Christians hoard their relationship with Jesus. We often live and behave as if Jesus only forgave us alone when he died on the cross when he actually died for the forgiveness of all who would believe in him. To look at someone else and think that person would never be eligible or interested in the saving grace of Jesus Christ makes you the judge. Yet this role only belongs to Jesus, not humans.
In some sense, Jesus continues to look at us with “not yet eyes.”
- We often have issues with God that have “not yet” been dealt with. In my experience, Christians struggle with some area of known sin until they totally surrender themselves to Jesus’ purifying and holy grace. Sometimes the struggle continues throughout a lifetime, and it is usually one area of sin. It could be selfishness, purity, greed, disobedience, double standards, etc. The good news is that Jesus wants to forgive you completely.
- We often have issues with ourselves that have “not yet” been dealt with. It may relate to our relationship with God, others, or the events of life–and often we go through our days with doubt or low self-esteem. Remember that God thinks you are terrific. You may not fit someone else’s standards. There may be a coach who does not think you are good enough for his team. Or you may never achieve a grade point average that earns you a special cord around your neck at graduation. Regardless, when God looks at you, he views you as his beautifully made creation and you have his eternal stamp of approval as you follow him.
- We often have issues with others that have “not yet” been dealt with. Going through life with people can be rewarding and challenging. We were not made to go through life alone. God declared that when he created Adam and Eve. However, some days it seems like it might be easier if we didn’t have to go through life with “that person” who is driving us crazy. Attitudes, jealousy, resentment, gossip, and other interpersonal vices cause our earthly relationships to become difficult. The key to keeping friendships healthy is first making sure our relationship with God and self are both healthy. We will never love others properly unless we love God and ourselves first.
Today may be a “not yet” day for you. If so, remember the truth of God’s Word: “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
Dr. Jim Dunn is executive director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church.
Comments expressed do not necessarily represent those of The Wesleyan Church Corporation.
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