1 Thess. 2:8 - "So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us" (ESV).
Do you remember the Clear Eyes commercials where Ben Stein would drone on and on about some situation that would aggravate your poor, defenseless eyes? Regardless of the offense, whether it was ragweed or dry air, his voice never reflected the irritation that his eyes felt. As he got to the end of the commercials, his lulling monotonous voice would say, "For dry, red eyes...there's Clear Eyes." There are times when it can be tempting to present God's word in a similarly emotionally-detached way. When we are scared to open up and explain how God’s word has worked in our lives. We are tempted to state the truths of the Bible in a very matter-of-fact way as we read down a neatly organized outline, but we all know when we hear God's word presented in such a way we rarely remember what was said.
In Acts 17, Paul was chased out of Thessalonica by some very upset Jews and leaving behind some very young Christians! In order to encourage them and establish them in the faith he sent Timothy back to check on them, and later sent Timothy back again with the letter we know as 1 Thessalonians.
As Paul reminded them how he had preached the gospel to them he explained that the gospel wasn't presented as a cold set of spiritual facts. He had presented the gospel in a deeply personal way. He had shared of himself! He had cared about the men and women who were listening to him. His sermons and classes weren't treated as items to check off his busy to-do list, but as opportunities to share with people how believing in Jesus had changed his life.
The next time you have an opportunity to share some aspect of the gospel, first make sure it truly is the gospel of God and then share how that gospel has changed you. It will challenge you to expose your life to others who might very well reject the gospel, God and you; but on the other hand, for those who respond in faith it will show them that the Christian life isn't just an intellectual exercise. May we move beyond emotional detachment and be courageous enough to share our gospel-changed lives with others.
(Originally posted 6/2/09)