I recently stumbled upon a collection of quotes by the staunchly nonconformist philosopher Fredric Nietzche. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I am not pro-Nietzche, I am not about to get all existential on you, and I am not saying that postmodernism is a constructive way of thinking. Honestly, I’m still just a kid, and to tackle these issues would require greater insight than I can provide.
What I do want to discuss though, is this: “We often refuse to accept an idea merely because the way in which it has been expressed is unsympathetic to us.”
I find this to be true. Most of the time, whether or not a message is received has a lot less to do with the content of the message and a lot more to do with the way the message was presented. I think that’s the problem that a lot of people have with the gospel.
This may not seem revolutionary to you, but I think it’s just a good reminder to keep on our toes when presenting the most important message there has ever been. This means that we must be aware of the emotions and receptivity of the people we are presenting to. This does not mean that we need to have “seeker sensitive” services. If coffee bars and pastors with iPads could get people saved, then the church would be in a much better state than it is. The true solution, is the unadulterated, unaltered, untainted Spirit of the living God. Only He can adequately convey the message.
We can do our best to be relevant and sensitive, and we should, but there is no guarantee that we in our fallible and ignorant humanness won’t do or say something to completely turn someone off to our message.
Nietzche’s quote explains to some extent why many people are unreceptive to the gospel. It’s not the fault of the message or the God in the message, but of the people who have foolishly asserted themselves into the message, and made it out to be something that it isn’t.
If we are going to be messengers for the God of the universe, we must be aware that we are not worthy of the message we bring. It is only through the Holy Spirit that we will be able to properly convey the message. It is only through the Holy Spirit that we won’t get in the way of what He is trying to do. Don’t ever let yourself forget that it is only by the grace of God that you are in the position to give and not receive the gospel. And don’t ever let yourself forget that at one time, you were receiving it.
Don’t try to do anything in your own strength. People can see right through you if you do.
That is all.