“Why do I need Jesus?” There is grave danger for those who do not consider this question sometime in their lives.
10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest–11 and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man [spiritual poverty and eternal separation await those who put off making Jesus Lord].
I stumped myself the other day. I wrote down, “Why do I need Jesus?” and I didn’t know where to begin. What would I say to someone who asked me that question?
I could tell him about the wonderful relationship that he can have with the God of the universe who wants to have a personal relationship with him! I could explain that God loves us so much that He came as Jesus to die in our place, but then I would need to explain sin, propitiation, and surrender:
- Sin-that which separates us from having a relationship with the Father. It is our rebellion, but it’s more than that. It’s what we become when we don’t have the Holy Spirit in us. It’s evil, aberrant behavior, selfishness, rage, hatred, malice, and so much more. We are addicted to it and cannot be free of it even if we wanted to, which we don’t (without His help).
- Propitiation-the substitution of one thing for another; in this case, Jesus’ death for our death. He took the weight and penalty of our sin upon Himself and then died, thus taking that sin to the grave. We no longer can be held accountable for our sin–unless we refuse to receive that pardon from Jesus. He bought our life and He asks us for our life. If we give it to Him, then He gives us His Spirit, which is actually Jesus in Spirit form. If we refuse, then we do NOT receive the Spirit and we will go into eternity unprepared. It will be like leaving the space station without wearing a space suit.
- Surrender– the giving of our lives to him in total and complete submission. We count ourselves dead to sin and our selfishness and alive to His Spirit. We respond to His moving in our minds and hearts so that we no longer follow our feelings, our heart (so to speak), our habits, or any person other than Christ.
I think what I would start with is this: We all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts that only God can fill. It’s not an original concept; in fact, it’s centuries old,
“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”
– Blaise Pascal, Pensées VII(425) 1670 AD
Until he comes to terms with the fact that he has this God-shaped hole, there is no reason to press the matter. I will answer any questions he has about faith, my testimony, and the Bible concerning salvation (I won’t argue Creation vs. Evolution, Eschatology, or anything else that does not lead directly to the Gospel), but I am waiting on him to confess his need for God to fill that void. Conviction comes through a person hearing the Gospel and the Holy Spirit calling to his attention his need for God. It’s up to him to decide; God will not force him. At the same time, I perceive that the Lord is working in his life, therefore I pray and strive until that decision is made.
All I said up front is true, and I hope to be able to share my own story with him about Jesus rescuing me and coming to live in my life, about how my life is full and complete because of Christ in me, and how I sense His love and His genuine enjoyment of my presence and my company. I want him to know Christ as I know Christ. This is why I am constantly ready to give an account for the hope I have in Christ, and doing it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15), out of true love for people as potential brothers and sisters in Christ.
Have you worked out what you would say? Maybe it’s time to write some things down and have them handy.
Abba, may You urge us to do just that and to be ready at a moment’s notice to explain what Christianity is and what it’s about, and to testify about what it means to us. Sharing our story of what Jesus did for us and means to us should be one of the most thrilling moments of our lives! Give us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). We are Your servants. Amen.