Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Share What Jesus Is Doing in Your Life

Leslie Basham: “Calling Women to Freedom, Fullness, and Fruitfulness in Christ.” You probably recognize that as the byline for Revive Our Hearts. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminds us that being a true woman is not just for those first two things.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: It's not just so we can experience freedom and fullness in Christ. That's a starting place, but it has to move toward us being fruitful. We're called to be fruitful, and as we abide in Christ, we will be reproducing His life in the life of others.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned, for Monday, July 16, 2018.

Nancy has been teaching through the True Woman Manifesto. It's a helpful document you can read and sign at ReviveOurHearts.com. Nancy is here to continue in the series.

So we come today to one of the final statements of the True Woman Manifesto. It's one that has not always been a part of my own life in a way that it needs to be. But God has used this study to challenge me in some fresh ways. Here's the statement:

We will seek opportunities to share the gospel of Christ with unbelievers.

Jesus said in Matthew chapter 5,

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.

You are the light of the world. [Salt and light.] A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (vv. 13–16).

So a call here to be who we are, and that is those who are to impact. Salt is to impact the food. It is to preserve. It is to flavor. Light is to impact the darkness. Where the light comes, the darkness disperses. And our lives, Jesus said, are salt and light. That is who we are. That is our calling and our mission in this world. I think a lot of people think, I’m not good at evangelism. I'm not good at witnessing to unbelievers. I know I need to be. I feel really bad about the fact that I’m not, but I’m just not good at it.

Well, just as a reminder we are—according to Jesus—salt and light. He didn't say you should be the salt or you should be the light. He said you are the light. You are the salt. If the light gets extinguished, if it doesn't shine, if it gets hid under a bushel, if the salt loses its flavor, its taste, how is the world going to be impacted? God does not have a Plan B. We are His plan. If we have lost our taste, or our value, or our heart for shining a light—we're just going to hide our light in our Christian conclaves—then what use are we in the world?

I want to, in this program, share very briefly with you just seven thoughts, suggestions about developing a heart to share Christ with unbelievers. And then I want spend the rest of our time sharing an example of this that has really touched my life in the recent days.

Number one, ask God to give you His heart for the lost. Just start there. Say, "Lord, I would like to have Your heart for those who are lost." To help you with that, think about where your life would be without Christ and consider the eternal future of those who live around you—in your neighborhood, in your workplace—what their eternal future would look like without Christ. And then beyond them, think about the glory of God and how God deserves to be worshiped, how He deserves to have first place in their lives.

Then number two, cultivate relationships with non-believers. As I’ve said, so many of us live in this Christian bubble and have so little contact with non-believers. For salt to be effective, it has to get out of the shaker. It has to come in contact with the food. Many of us have way too little contact in any kind of meaningful conversation or meaningful way with those who don't know Christ. Now don't get overwhelmed by that, just think of the place you frequent—the grocery store, the dry-cleaners, the place where your kids go to school. If we're living as Christians when we're out doing life, then we're going to be in a position to engage with people, to show an interest in them, to be friendly, to pay attention to them, and to cultivate relationships with them.

I find sometimes just thinking about that is really helpful. Otherwise, I just go from point A to point B. I'm doing my business and I'm not, sadly, thinking about the people that God has caused my life to intersect with that day. So ask God to help you cultivate relationships with non-believers. That takes some intentionality. A friend mentioned to me recently that during the summer months, she tried to get out regularly to the Farmer's Market in our area so that she could meet people, talk with them, establish a relationship, and begin to develop some contact with unbelievers.

We have some people in our ministry who are doing a great job of establishing relationships with their neighbors and serving and loving and helping and blessing and connecting. They are staying planted in that neighborhood. One of them told me the other day that in her neighborhood they have ex-drug addicts and alcoholics all over the place. It's just a pocket there. But she is so excited about being able to help cultivate relationships to point these people to Christ.

It takes intentionality and it takes asking God for His love for those that we might not naturally have any affinity toward. It's fun to be with our Christian friends all the time who all think the same way and love the Lord. It takes God's love in our hearts for us to connect with those who are are different, who don't have the same values, and who don't have that heart for Christ.

And then number three, ask God for opportunities to engage people on spiritual matters. Just ask Him for opportunities and ask Him to help you to be alert, sensitive, and ready when those opportunities present themselves. I was on a trip to Florida recently to see my mother and both directions on the flight I had opportunities to sit next to people—one a new mom with an eleven-month-old baby, her first. She was so concerned about that baby being disruptive to the flight. She sat next to the right person because I love children. I was able to engage with her in conversation about spiritual matters.

On a different flight on that trip, I sat next to an eighty-five-year-old woman and the thought just kept crossing my mind, she can't have very long to live. It may be several years, maybe fifteen years, but it's not very long. That thought helped me get into a conversation with her about spiritual matters. She was not particularly open. She didn't pray to receive Christ there, but I was asking God for an opportunity just to plant a seed in her life and was able to do that.

Number four, ask people how you can pray for them. I find this is such a way to enter into spiritual conversation, or to at least to communicate an interest in a heart. It can be servers in restaurants.

I did this recently with a lady in a boutique I went into. I saw that she was selling the business. There was a “For Sale” sign outside, and I asked her about it. She told me that she was going through a divorce and was losing the business.

So I did a little shopping in there and then came back to her—thankfully nobody was in the store at the moment—and I said to her, "This may seem a little strange, but I would love to pray for you. I know you're going through some hard times right now. Would it be okay if I prayed for you?" And I did. I just had a chance there to connect with her, to pray for God's blessing in her life, to pray that she would come into a personal relationship with Christ. Ask people how you can pray for them and you'll find that some of them are really open for you to minister into their lives spiritually.

Number five, tell your story. There are so many programs and methods and ways of presenting our faith, but one of the most powerful and effective means of introducing people to Christ is to tell them how you came to faith and how God is changing your life. For them to see the power of the gospel at work in our lives opens them want to know Christ who is making that difference.

I have a friend who is living in a Muslim country and sharing the gospel as he and his wife are able to do that. He was asked recently, how would you suggest sharing the gospel with Americans in our country? His answer, I thought, was great. He said, "Treasure Jesus and share with others what He is doing in your life."

That takes a lot of the pressure off. It's simple. You don't have to present the whole gospel to every person every time. You're don’t have to lay it all out every time. At points along the way, just let people see how you treasure Jesus, share what He is doing in your life, and then see what doors God opens for people to want to know more.

And then number six, grow in your understanding of the gospel and in how to share it with others. The power is in the gospel. That's why we need to understand it. We need to practice explaining aspects of it. There is not one four-sentence way to explain the gospel. Get to know the gospel. As you do, as you dig deep into it and come to understand these great truths of our faith, then you will find that you are better equipped to share those truths and to share the gospel with those people who are ready to receive it.

And then number seven, trust God with the outcome. Trust God to be the one who brings the harvest as you share the gospel. He is the one who draws people, who opens their eyes and their hearts, who grants them repentance and faith. We are just part of the process, part of the means that He uses.

When you're talking with someone—that sever in the restaurant, or that lady in the boutique, or that person seated next to you on the airplane, or your neighbor, or the soccer mom who is spending the season watching soccer games with you—you don't know where they may be in that process, what God has been doing in their hearts to prepare their hearts. God's Spirit is working in times, ways, and places that we can't see and don't know. So we just need to be sensitive, faithful, alert, and sharing the message as God gives opportunity.

I received an email a number of years ago from a gal that I went to college with in the 70s. We were both piano majors. She saw now, many years later, one of my books and was prompted to write. Here's what she said,

Dear Nancy,

Many years ago at USC, you shared the gospel with me. I've wanted to tell you many times since then that I am a Christian now. One day you shared the four spiritual laws with me in the cafeteria. At the time, my eyes were closed. But a few years later, in the Lord's timing, I was transferred into His kingdom of light. I want to thank you for being part of His arms of love to me at that time. I know you were part of His work in my life as He drew me.

Then she went on to tell how, subsequent to coming to know the Lord, that she had become a Bible Study Fellowship discussion leader for several years. Then she went with Campus Crusade to, then, Communist Russia. She has married a Christian man. She's walking with the Lord. How could I have imagined? I could have felt discouraged back there, sitting in that cafeteria sharing the gospel with this young woman that didn't seem interested or her eyes weren't open.

But to get to see, years later, that God had used that, had moved in her heart subsequently and brought her to faith. What an encouragement that was. Now we don't always get to see the end of the story, but we will in Heaven one day. We'll see how those seeds that we have planted have been part of the process of God fertilizing and watering the soil and the seed, and in perhaps many of those lives bringing them ultimately to faith in Christ.

Leslie: When you discover the freedom Jesus gives, it makes you want to share that freedom with others. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been talking about that here on Revive Our Hearts, and in the time we have left, we want to illustrate how this works by hearing part of Nancy’s conversation with a woman named Liza. She understood that her sins had been forgiven. But she felt like she had to keep working to make God happy. This led to a frenetic pace of ministry and eventually, burnout.

Liza: I was trying so hard. And I think that’s maybe how people would describe me during that season of life, “She is just trying really hard.” I was putting all of my effort into it.

But at that point, I didn’t know to put all of my effort into knowing Jesus. I was just putting all of my effort into the things, into the things I felt like He required of me.

Not knowing what else to do, I decided to take a fast from all of the things that I was doing, all of the things I was doing to try and please the Lord. That just meant that I went to work, and I also went to church on Sundays, but other than that I quit all of the things I was doing in the evenings—whether it was youth group or Pregnancy Care Center or mentoring or whatever. I just said, “I may be back. I may not be back. But right now, I just need to seek the Lord.”

Nancy: So you weren’t throwing out the faith. You were on an intentional pursuit to know Christ of Christianity.

Liza: So much! I knew that the things weren’t bringing life, weren’t bringing intimacy with the Lord, weren’t bringing joy. So I had a pretty good idea that He would be okay if I set those things aside just to seek Him.

Nancy: As you’re explaining this, I think a lot of our listeners are saying, like their hands are in the air, and they’re saying, “That’s me! That’s what I’ve experienced!” They’re resonating with or relating to what you’ve just shared.

So, tell us, when you started into this kind of drastic change in your schedule, what did you do with those evenings?

Liza: Well, as I was entering into this time, it was actually a little bit scary because I realized, “Oh, if I don’t do any of the things that I’ve been doing to kind of ease that weight of my soul, what if it just gets weightier and weightier and weightier? What if the things I’ve put my identity in, doing all of the right things, if that’s what it means for Liza to be a Christian, and I don’t do those things anymore, what does it mean for Liza to be a Christian? So it was a little bit of a scary time for me. I knew I was kind of taking a leap.

Nancy: A free-fall there!

Liza: Yes, and what if He doesn’t come through? What if there isn’t anything under all of this?

So I decided to sit on a park bench in the evenings with just my Bible and journal. And people, knowing my frantic pace, would say, “Liza, what are you going to do with all that time?”

And I would say “I have no idea, but I don’t know what else to do.”

So, that very first night on the park bench—I’ll never forget it—Jesus met me there. He just came, and, instead of giving me a list of rules and better ways I could please Him and better priorities, He just came and told me that He loved me. He said, “Liza, I am not perpetually disappointed with you. I am perpetually pleased with you because of Jesus. And you already have an A on the test, so you can just go and enjoy Me.”

He spoke to me deeply from the Song of Solomon in those nights, especially in the Song of Solomon 4:7. There He said, “You are altogether beautiful, my love. There is no flaw in you.”

And as He unpacked that and just said, “Because of Jesus, when I look at you, there is no flaw in you.”

He just spoke that in a way that I understood, and I started to believe it deep in my heart that Jesus loved me.

And, Nancy, we never moved past that in the time on the bench. We never moved on.

Nancy: So it wasn’t just one evening you were doing that?

Liza: No. It’s like He didn’t have anything else to tell me except that He loved me and accepted me. And that thrilled my heart. Oh, that was like water to a thirsty soul. And I’ve never gotten over that. It changed me from the inside out.

Nancy: I’m thinking of another part of the Song of Solomon. Earlier, in chapter 3, where the bride in this story loses the sense of her groom’s presence, and she says, “On my bed by night, I sought him whom my soul loves.”

She knew she had a relationship with him, but she wanted his nearness, and she couldn’t sense it. She said, “I sought him but found him naught.” And that, to me, kind of describes where you were those months leading up to the months that you then spent on the park bench.

She said, “I will arise now and go about the city. I will seek him whom my soul loves. I sought him but found him naught.”

So she goes, and she tries something different, and she still doesn’t find him. And then some of the people around her misunderstand her, and they—it looks weird to them what she’s doing. But she says, “Scarcely had I passed them when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go.”

And I think of that when I hear you tell your story of how you weren’t looking for more religion, for more lists, for more to-do, but for Christ and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. When you went and waited quietly and got quiet enough to really hear Him, that’s what He assured you of—not just from the Song of Solomon, but from other places in the Scripture.

Liza: That’s so true. And now, looking back, I see that dryness as Him drawing me, and I see it as such a gift. While in the middle of it, it felt so heavy, but now I see it as Him calling me in and saying, “I want to know you, and I want you to know Me and the depths of My love.”

And that’s really the reason for the dryness and the reason for the drought, to draw me closer to Him. So now on the other side of it, I see it as such a gift, as a good God wooing me towards Him instead of Him, from heaven, saying, “You’re not doing enough; you’re not doing enough.”

I have a completely different perspective on Him now than I did, and I’m so grateful to have come to that place of brokenness and to the park bench to really know Him like that.

And, Nancy, He used another Scripture. In 1 John 4:10, He said, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

In that truth in that verse, oh, what joy it was to hear that love isn’t me loving Him first. “This is love, Liza, not that you have loved Me well or have hung onto Me well or gripped Me tight. It’s that I have loved you and held onto you, and My grip on you is tighter than your grip on Me will ever be.”

And so, I think, in that season, I did let go. I understood the gospel, I think, maybe for the first time, in true faith, just letting go of my own worth and my own deeds before Him. And just accepting who He was and what He did on the cross for myself was really what was happening in that moment.

Nancy: And what a beautiful thing to come to the point of realizing that you don’t do these good things in order to get Him to love you.

Liza: That’s right.

Nancy: But He has loved you. He does love you. And then your response is to do that which is pleasing to Him. It’s a response of love to love.

So, over those next days, weeks, months, things began to change really deeply in you. Describe what that change looked like.

Liza: Yes. I love a quote by John Bunyan that says, “Run, John, run, the law commands but gives us neither feet nor hands. Far better news, the gospel brings. It bids us fly and gives us wings.”

Nancy: Yes.

Liza: As I got up from that park bench, I didn’t change anything about my life. I was still going to the store, still going to Starbucks, still going to my job, but it was like something had changed on the inside of me. His love had touched a place of my heart that came alive.

And, as I was going about my normal life, I could tell something had changed, and it was in how I saw people.

Nancy: The Lord gave you new eyes for what was going on around you, and it was really God giving you the ability to see people with His eyes.

Liza: Yes, that’s so true. It almost did feel like somebody else’s heart beating inside my own, that I could feel what somebody else was feeling, because this hadn’t been my experience for so long.

I distinctly remember the first time I cried about suffering that wasn’t my own, and that was immediately followed with, “I think this is Your heart for people.” And in those moments, in those days, I was saying, “Lord, this is Your heart for people, and now I am also so drawn to the suffering and broken people. I know that You use my hands and feet in order to be Your love to them like You have been to me. And so, if there are any specific people You would want me to go love, be my hands and feet. I would love to do that.”

So I think I surrendered all in those moments.

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been talking with a young woman named Liza about the amazing love of God. When you experience that love, it makes you want to share that love with others.

Before Liza’s story, we heard Nancy teaching about the value of sharing the truth with others as part of the teaching series, "The True Woman Manifesto: Declarations, Part 2." We’re able to bring you programs like this one because listeners appreciate what they hear on Revive Our Hearts. They want to contribute to help us keep making more programs.

When you support the ministry this week we'll say "thanks" by sending Nancy’s book Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together. The book is an in-depth study of Titus 2:1–5. It will show you how to let the beauty of the gospel shine through you to others. Ask for your a copy of Adorned when you donate any amount at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1–800–569–5959 and ask for Adorned. We’ll send one book per household for your donation this week.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says the church has been called to provide for the poor. But in many cases the church has given that role to the government. She'll reflect more on that tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants you to find freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture was taken from the English Standard Version.

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