We get it. Everyone doesn’t believe the Bible.
But, for those of us who choose to believe, for those who honor the Bible as the Word of God, and choose to follow its guidance for instruction, correction, and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16 ESV) – you are “Whosoever will”.
When it comes to accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, God offers humanity a choice. He respects those who choose ‘yes’ or ‘no’ versus the in-between who are stuck on ‘maybe both’ (Revelation 3:15-16).
And, so do wise followers of Christ. Like our Father, we give the world space to choose.
As we love one another (John 13:35) and live lives that exemplify Christ’s example of love and obedience to Father God (John 6:38, Matthew 7:21), we best position ourselves to win others to Christ via their gift of choice.
That’s what was missing in a recent ABC News 20/20 report on gay conversion therapy camps. As many times as the word “Christian” was repeated in the broadcast, the tactic of salvation or deliverance without free will and free choice misses the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Every Tactic Labeled ‘Christian’ is Not of God
Conversion therapy aims to change one’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual, often with religious dogma and psychological treatment.
The year-long 20/20 investigative report covered two gay conversion therapy programs in Alabama, including one led by a “Christian” pastor who was convicted of child abuse for the alleged beatings administered to teens who resisted efforts to change their sexual orientation.
What do these false representations of Christ followers do for the body of Christ?
They further alienate the very ones we’re trying to reach for God, and publically disgrace the gospel.
The plan of salvation and deliverance is simpler than we make it. Clearly, when we veer off from God’s original plan for soul-winning and the gentleness of the gospel, we make a mockery of God and His precepts.
Wolf Strategies in Sheep Clothing
One must admit, though – this tactic of the enemy is effective. Expose “Christians” as being no better than those who practice waterboarding and other abusive techniques, and no one will want any part of Jesus.
Don’t be a pawn in satan’s plans to disrupt the grace of God. Jesus was tortured and died for our sins; let no “Christian” leader tell you, “You’ve got next.”
As God uses us to win the lost – or righteously judge each other in love (John 7:24), there’s a formula for us to remember that eliminates any semblance of abuse of others or pressure on ourselves.
God’s Formula for Changing Hearts
(Plant + Water) * God = Changed Hearts
(1 Corinthians 3:6-7)
God’s plan is simple. He assigns some of us to plant seeds of the gospel in the hearts of others by introducing them to Jesus Christ. Others are assigned the task of watering or re-presenting the good news. While we operate in these roles under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the responsibility of increase lies with God.
Followers of Christ were never commissioned to beat Jesus into the hearts and souls of others – physically, verbally, or emotionally. The gospel can quickly lose its savor and become worthless if we employ manipulative, strong-arm tactics.
Perhaps this is what desperate parents of gay teens and well-meaning, yet misguided individuals fail to understand – the onus is not on you to change people!
How self-absorbed we are sometimes, Team. How can we convert hearts we can’t see? We can only see outward appearances (1 Samuel 16:7). God, on the other hand, sees and knows our heart, our experiences. In His wisdom, He creates the perfect plan for deliverance tailored to each individual.
The Roles of Harvest
God handpicks the planter and the one who waters. He gives the planter time, space, and opportunity to introduce Christ – or share loving correction that will save your life (James 5:19-20). To the one chosen to water, God gives just the right words to confirm seeds that have already been planted.
As we move in obedience to God’s formula, He is steadily causing those seeds to bud and bloom in due season. Those who you plant or water may one day share, “I’m tired of living this life. I’m ready for a change.”
So, What’s the Play Call?
Know your role and responsibilities when sharing the gospel truth with others. It’s not by your might or power (Zechariah 4:6). Stay out of God’s lane – let God be God.
Die to pride, self-righteousness, and self-importance every day. Remember, you are simply a tool in God’s hand, according to God’s will, to attract “whosoever will” to Him.
Keep your good intentions from being slandered (Romans 14:16). Good intentions planted or watered with the wrong spirit yield rotten fruit and hardened hearts. This is not the result you or God were shooting for.
Plant and water truth. Study the Word of God under the leadership and teaching of sound gospel. Stay in tune with the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth (John 16:13-14, Psalm 25:4-5).