This morning I met with a older lady who is often interested in discussing her faith and is constantly trying to “broaden” my view.
Today she focused on a particular sect within her religion that has recently promoted the idea that their leader “ascended into heaven”. She referred to this as a myth similar to the ascension of Christ and that it was unnecessary for her belief.
Regarding the Gospel, she loves Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, but is unwilling to accept anything beyond the specific sayings of the Beatitudes.
While I am surely not as bold or as well-equipped as Paul, I challenged her to consider the entire character of Jesus expressed in all of the Gospels: that the ascension of Christ was absolutely necessary for the Christian. It was a friendly conversation that I hope will continue.
It is not always comfortable. Often it is easier to just smile and change the subject. We miss opportunities, but we have a great honor and a responsibility to proclaim the Gospel in a world that is more and more often less than friendly to our point of view.
Look at how Paul defends his words to the people of Thessolonica when he spoke with “boldness in our God…in the midst of much conflict…not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” No flattery. No Greed. No seeking of glory from people.
Like Paul, we all have places where we can speak, not boast like politicians just trying to win an argument. Let us look for opportunities to win and persuade others by simply proclaiming the Truth through God’s Spirit with pure motives like Paul.