“Now, let’s go out and win this city for Christ!”
At the younger end of my years, I remember being terribly moved by words like these. My eager heart just knew the preacher was right. We must win our world for Jesus! The thing is, I never could quite figure out how to do it.
Here’s a sampling of my attempts:
- Passing out tracts at public venues
- Inviting friends and strangers alike to church and special emphasis programs
- Carrying my Bible to school, then later to work as an adult
- Taking and graduating from multiple witnessing programs and testing them out on a lost world
- Attending and helping organize Christian witness rallies
Impressive, huh? How did all of it work toward that “winning my world for Christ” thing? In short, it didn’t.
Through the years, the Lord has graciously taught me out of many misguided beliefs, such as this idea that he wants me to “win” something for him. Yes, he commands me to go out into the world and disciple others, but that is something entirely different from the idea of “winning” a soul for him. The tone is much more sober, the call more demanding, the truth more encompassing.
So if God doesn’t want me to win something for him, what does he want?
He wants me to bear his image.
His first words about us say as much (“Let us make them in our image, according to our likeness). His call to Israel was for the same purpose, to be his witnesses (his image) to all the nations so that all people could be blessed through them. Jesus himself was what? The very image of God. What is God’s purpose for us? To mold us into the likeness (image) of his son.
We are image bearers. Our world is supposed to see God through us. And not just a picture of him. They need to see him animated in his love for them. Calling out their name, being the Great I Am in their lives, loving them beyond this world’s limits.
Image-bearing. Not a game. Not about winning or losing. It is the call of God. Always has been. Always will be.