After speaking at Duke's IV meeting this Friday, one of the students came up to talk. Over the course of talking, the topic of evangelism came up, and she began sharing how she had kind of sequestered herself away from non-Christians since she had been at school. She said that she didn't know how to share her faith very well and that she tended to get defensive when talking with non-Christians. But as we continued to talk, we began to zero in more and more on what the problem really was. It wasn't a lack of apologetics knowledge or a tendency to get defensive. Ultimately she had wandered from intimacy with Jesus, replacing a loving relationship with her Father with a boring, religious list of things to do. And so evangelism for her was not an expression of the love of Jesus that she was receiving; it was something that she ought to do. She had thought that evangelism was all up to her, and the concept of depending on Jesus to love her non-Christian friends through her was so foreign.
She said that for a couple of years she had been asking God to give her a passion for Him; I imagine that she thought that was a feeling or a zeal for the Lord. But perhaps, I told her, what she needed to ask God for was not a feeling of passion, but rather a knowing that the Lord loved her.
My heart went out to her, because I longed for her to be set free to know more deeply the love of Jesus. That is the only thing to change and transform her heart. That is the only thing that would compel her to share her faith with her non-Christian friends.
I just found it interesting to be reminded that for most of us, a lack of evangelistic zeal or effort is not primarily linked to lack of knowledge or training or even "I ought to's". But rather it is linked to our awareness of and soaking in the Love of the Father given to us through Christ.