Balancing Urgency

Getting anywhere on time can be a daily grind! Getting to where you need to be when you need to be there. Ah, life in the modern world.  

I spend lots of time in transit. Today, in East Tennessee most transit time is spent driving. While living in New York City for 6 years, aside from walking – a must in the Big Apple – it was often using public transportation like subways or taxis.

No matter how you travel, whether short commutes or long distances, you are not alone. In fact we’re most often surrounded by many people doing the same thing – going somewhere.

Have you ever pondered where all those people are headed? Take a moment sometime and ponder their spiritual journey.

Because you see, every person is either on the road to heaven or the road to hell – there are only two roads. Pondering such a thought is sobering and humbling. How much more pondering the destination of people in our lives who don’t yet know Jesus – now that is personal!

Every person has a destiny with death (Hebrews 9:27) and every person’s ultimate destination is heaven or hell. What do we do with such weighty truth? 

As we think about engaging the lost in light of this truth, two extremes are apathy or pushiness. Apathy doesn’t think about people’s ultimate destination much, if at all. Apathy says that’s between them and God. Apathy also says, “I can’t make a difference in their path.” On the other hand, pushiness is uber-concerned about another’s spiritual condition. Pushiness wants to say or do whatever it takes to get them to “see the light.” Pushiness keeps pushing, without respecting another’s wishes to stop. In short, pushiness ignores boundaries. To which extreme do you lean?

Where do we find the balance between apathy and pushiness in the evangelistic endeavor? Urgency. Urgency – that persistent desire for others to know the Lord – that’s the balance. And as we seek His face, He will make us more into the witness He desires us to be.   

God’s Timing  Is Perfect

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11).

As we think about when and how to witness to those around us, there is a time to press in and a time to pull back. And the Lord knows timeliness, for He is the author of time. And God’s timing in evangelism is best served when we prioritize prayer: go to God on behalf of people before you go to people on behalf of God, asking the Lord to give you a healthy urgency in your witness.

In Step With The Father

Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel” (John 5:19-20).

Jesus walked in perfect lock step with the Father, doing the Father’s will. Additionally, He also spoke God’s words as John 3:34 states: “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God.”

How then can we walk in step with the Father’s will as we seek live in a state of urgency in the evangelistic endeavor? Paul tells us in Galatians 5:25, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can speak the truth of God and do the work of God in His time.   

Open Doors, Closed Doors

Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out.  And when you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet” (Matthew 10:11-14).

In Matthew 10, when Jesus sends out the disciples for the first time, He tells them to press in when the door is open and to pull back when it is closed. A healthy urgency in light of evangelism goes through open doors (overcoming apathy) and respects closed doors (overcoming pushiness). 

Paul’s ministry is illustrative. For example, Luke wrote of closed doors in Acts 16:6-7: “Now when they (Paul and Silas) had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.” 

In contrast, Paul prays for open doors in Colossians 4:3. In 1 Corinthians 16:9 he rejoices that God opens up doors to minister the gospel, and notice, even in the light of opposition: “For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”

Prayer & Obedience

Apathy? Pushiness? Where do you lean in regards to reaching out to the lost? In our witness, make prayer the priority, asking Him to help you to find that balance between apathy and pushiness. Ask Him to show you what living urgently looks like in your life. Do you need more zeal or patience for the lost?

To live urgently as a witness for Jesus means seeking to live according to His timing, in step with Him, obediently going and walking through open doors and respecting closed doors according to the power of the Holy Spirit.

“To God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen” (Romans 16:27).

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