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Influence and the Gospel

Millions of people sit for hours in both pleasant and awful weather because they are "fans" of various sporting events. Some are watching professional activities while others are observing high-school or college or youth league athletes. Lots are just moms and dads and grandparents watching their children. Why do we block out this time, cancel other activities and endure the troubles of weather, traffic, expense and uncomfortable seating? Simple! Because we want to.

There is an incredible power in the desire-driven heart. The amount of discomfort and expense we will endure cannot be measured. Sometimes the very costs themselves become badges of personal honor.

In the same vein, but opposite direction, the motivation to avoid what is undesirable is also powerful. Even the most simple and undemanding action may be avoided delayed or denied with passion by a person who does not want to do some particular thing. Sometimes people will refuse to do things for no other reason than they believe someone else is trying to force them.

Some people observe that they will not go to church because they were forced to go as children and now no one can make them go any more! I'll bet the same people were also forced to eat, sleep, bathe, wear matching socks and brush their teeth! How curious! Why didn't they swear off those as well?

Some have refused to become Christians because they say they were pushed, hounded and browbeaten by some family member for so long that they are not about to give that person the satisfaction of now being told they were right all along! Well, shame on us if we did in fact so pester our mates, children or family members that they are bitter.

My wife doesn't control me but I freely admit I can't make a decision without her influence. Not because she has ever demanded her way, threatened me or manipulated me. Not because she is "bossy" or hard to live with. She has influence over me because I want her to be happy.

The real influence of the gospel is not about force - it's about desire. People don't sit in the rain and watch kids play football because they have to but because they want to. The true worshipers that Jesus described in John 4:23 don't go to church and live the way they do because they have to - - they do it because they want to. They know what the power of the gospel really is - - love - - it's that simple.

"In this is love, not that we loved God, but that Hew loved us ans sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 Jn 4:10)

- Tim Orbison


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