It’s more than going to church, saying prayer before supper, and tithing. Our roles as believers require dedication and perseverance in the face of challenges from every side.
As believers, we are charged with two concurrent roles: students and teacher’s assistants. The student part is the easy one to understand. Pray, read the Bible, ask questions, and pray some more. Grace is given to those willing to accept it, but we must still remain diligent with our studies and prayers in order to strengthen our faith and allow us to properly spread the Word to others.
It’s like the warning we receive on airplanes in case the oxygen masks deploy. We’re told to secure our mask firmly before assisting others. This is true when spreading the Gospel. Our own souls are our responsibility. To properly help others, we must be constantly improving our own understanding.
Looking back, I know of several opportunities to share the Word of God that I either did not take or handled improperly. I’ve given advice that I wish I could take back. In the future, God Willing, I will look back at today and see other opportunities missed. That’s part of our journey. We must continue to learn more every day through prayer and reading the Word. The Bible is not something that should be read once, though that’s a great start. It must be read our whole lives. I cannot count the times that I’ve read a book, a chapter, or even a verse from the Bible many times before finding something extremely important that I missed every time before. In fact, it’s very rare that I read a book of the Bible without coming away with a better understanding than I had the last time I read it.
It’s harder to be a teacher’s assistant. For many, it’s a challenge to take on the role of helping to teach. The world is against us right now. Perhaps it always has been. It takes a bold heart to open up and talk to friends, family, and even strangers about the Gospel. There are multiple fears against us – fear of losing acceptance, fear that we’re not communicating the Word properly, and in some cases there are tangible fears. In many places, teaching the Gospel is punishable by death.
The opposite side of the spectrum also holds challenges. We must be assistants only. That’s hard, especially for people who have strong personalities. The greater the leader, the harder it is to play this role properly. We’ve seen too many people gain powerful followings who have the ability to reach the masses, only to fall to false doctrines and succumb to their desires in this world.
The concept that anyone can “win souls” is profoundly egotistical. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can win souls. As humans, we can only point people in the right direction. They must, under their own free will, walk down the path. We can walk them to the door, but from there they must continue the journey by taking the hand of the divine. We can only assist.
This is important because all-too-often we start to interject our own understanding rather than relying on the Word and sound Biblical doctrine. Like a teacher’s assistant in a classroom, we can pass out the textbooks, answer some of their questions, and offer encouragement, but they must listen to the teacher in order to pass the course.
Everything we do offers an opportunity to learn, assist, or both. Through diligence of learning and fearlessness in sharing the Gospel, we not only accept the strength of the Armor of God around us but we also have an opportunity to show others where they can find their own Armor.
(This article is part of the Compassion and Fear Series)