Advent_165

Jesus Is Our Priest: Approach Your Neighbors With Confidence

John Reeves (Lead Pastor)

This week we have spent a lot of time focusing on how God intended for his people to be a nation of priests. It all started in the Old Testament, when God told Israel that He was setting them apart so that their lives would point people to Himself. In the Gospels and throughout the New Testament Jesus models for us what priestly behavior looks like amongst the Church. Yesterday, Ryan did an excellent job of helping us apply the fact that Jesus is our Great High Priest to our lives by approaching our prayer lives with great confidence. Today, I would like to take a few minutes to remind us that because of that confidence that we have when we speak to God on behalf of people, we should also have the same confidence when we approach people on behalf of God.

Many times approaching our neighbors with the purpose of sharing the Gospel feels difficult. I believe that’s because we just don’t know where or how to start. As I mentioned in the video at the beginning of this post, here are 3 steps that can start you on the right path to engaging your neighbors:

  1. Prayer: We have to start with our own hearts wanting to see our neighbors’ lives and hearts changed. The only way for that to happen is for us to put ourselves in right relationship with the God of the Universe. This happens best when we humble ourselves and ask Him to change us – to change our “want to”.  As Ryan wrote yesterday, we can do this with great confidence because Jesus is already in front of God the Father on our behalf.
  2. Present: Walking over to a neighbor’s house (or a co-worker’s cubicle) to engage them in a conversation is difficult. Especially if we haven’t had the best relationship with them in the past. Approaching them with a gift (be it a baked good or an offer to join you in a meal) is a great ice breaker. It can be very simple. The act of putting them before yourself and presenting them with a thoughtful gift (out of a heart that expects to – and wants to – have a conversation) puts you in a position of humility and selflessness before your neighbor.
  3. Permission: Lastly, as I mentioned in the video, looking for those moments when your neighbor or co-worker then invites you in to further conversation and stepping out in faith to speak truth is the “payoff” to the other 2 parts of this process (hopefully). A natural overflow of our confidence before God should be a confidence to speak on His behalf to our friends and neighbors. When these opportunities come, step into them with confidence, grace and lots of humility and you’ll be surprised by how God will meet you there.

As we’ve been talking about on Sunday mornings for the last several weeks, the holidays present us some unique opportunities to engage our neighbors in spiritual conversations. Take some time this weekend to consider how your family might be able to pray specifically for your neighbors, co-workers or team mates. Then go one step further and think about what kind of gift you might be able to bring to them to brighten their holidays. And finally, don’t stop with this first interaction. Continue to pray for them, but also look for those moments in the coming days and weeks for them to give you permission to speak into their lives. And when they do, step into those moments with great confidence. Jesus has adopted you into His family, made you His child and called you to be a priest in your radius – and that should fill us with great confidence and great expectation.

Post Series: Advent 2015

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