Written by SJ
“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:16-17).
It is illegal in many North African countries to proselytize. The city where I live is unreached, with a population of one million people. From what I know, less than 100 people believe that Jesus is the Son of God. There are no indigenous communities of believers who can spread the gospel. Many have never heard of Jesus, and they lack access to someone who can tell them.
Last summer, I left Canada and boarded a plane to North Africa. I had little idea of the challenges and growth ahead. During my first month, I learned something I wish I’d known earlier. I felt foolish for growing up in the Church and yet not knowing how to share the gospel.
As the Church in North America, have we failed to disciple others well? Have we substituted the command to go and tell for an event to come and see? If I, as a believer, am not motivated towards telling others about the Kingdom, do I honestly believe that the gospel is good news? I was tired of indifference and claiming Jesus to be first in my life when I failed to obey His commands. Our faith is not supposed to be comfortable. “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). I desired to surrender my life as a sacrifice to God, in life and death (Revelation 2:10).
In our role as Christians, it is imperative that we have reproducible lives. Here in North Africa, we prioritize spending time in the presence of God. We are quick to pray when someone expresses a need, and we understand the importance of memorizing stories in the Bible to recount to others (Hebrews 4:12). We share with boldness. Others must hear that God sent His son, Jesus, to die for the wrong they have committed. From the very beginning, whether they believe or not, we challenge them to share what they have learned with others. Our goal is to model the gospel in a simple and reproducible way.
So I ask us this: Are we willing to surrender our reputation and be bold in proclaiming who Jesus is? Will we allow God to use us in bringing His truth to our communities and the ends of the earth? Will we pray daily for the Holy Spirit to continue working among all nations? Will we ask for renewed passion and for our generation to see believers filled with the radical love of Jesus Christ?