Acts 26:29 Paul replied, “Short time or long–I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”
What a beautiful statement of the heart of evangelism! Those who are earnest in evangelism are sometimes accused of being conceited or “holier-than-thou,” but this is the perfect response to that. There is no conceit when you want everyone to be like you! Paul certainly had holy boldness to speak like this to a king, and particularly one who had physical authority over him. However, every child of God should exercise such boldness! These days the politically correct attitude is “whatever works for you.” but that is a trick from the pit of hell. All religions, roads, lifestyles, are not equal. Jesus’ statement that no one gets to the Father except through Him (John 14:6) is not at all politically correct, but that doesn’t make it any less true. I have been shocked and saddened to read how apologetic Christians often are for their faith, particularly in the US. There is nothing to apologize for in having a personal relationship with the Creator and desiring that others have what you enjoy! If we aren’t convinced that there is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ, then we will have little motivation to try to bring others into the family of God, and that is exactly what the devil is aiming for. We must not give him that satisfaction!
This is something I have run into more times than I could count. I have been accused by Americans of “cultural imperialism” for being a missionary, and I have dealt with Japanese who didn’t want to rock the boat by telling others about Christ. Paul’s statement here is the answer to both of those situations! My standard answer to those who accuse me of “pressing my religion on others who don’t need it” is that when I have found such a wonderful salvation myself, wouldn’t it be terribly stingy of me to fail to tell others about it? With those who hesitate to share the Gospel with others, I need to help them understand better what a wonderful salvation they have been given, as well as the stark reality of hell. That last is often a sticking point in Japan, because with so few Christians, that means that over 95% of everyone you know or encounter is headed for an unthinkably horrible eternity, so people try not to think about it. I need to speak the truth in love, not making “hellfire and brimstone” central, but not ignoring it either. We don’t like the “stick” part of the “carrot and stick” approach, but some people aren’t that crazy about carrots! I need to help people, both believers and pre-believers, understand that God’s grace is wonderful precisely because of where we’re headed without it!
Father, You know the struggles I have with this issue. Being accused and attacked is no big deal, but I so want to turn the believers on to being the witnesses they are called to be! (Acts 1:8) Help me encourage a hunger for more of You in each individual, so that they may open up to the full flow of Your Spirit through them, to be powerfully effective in drawing many from darkness to light, from death to life, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!