2 Timothy 1:6-7
This being so, I want to remind you to stir into flame the strength and boldness that is in you, that entered into you when I laid my hands upon your head and blessed you. 7 For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them.
These verses speak to me about engagement. Let me explain.
In the last days the darkness becomes commonplace, and acceptable dark practices that were condemned just a generation ago, will be accepted as normal. Even those who appear to be in right standing with society will be found to be monsters of deception. I think of Bill Cosby as an example of such a person. Accused by 55 women who said he drugged and sexually assaulted them. Then there is former President Bill Clinton; his list of affairs would certainly qualify him for sexual addiction therapy. The point I am making is that people are not naturally good, their base nature is evil, and they will cheat, steal, and lie if it would benefit them. I am no longer surprised at the kind of darkness that people are capable of committing. Over my lifetime as a Christian, I have seen horrendous acts of unfaithfulness, and delusion in the lives of fellow Christians who lost their values and lost their God.
O.J. Simpson has been in the news lately; he is crippled by knee pain, high blood pressure, and is a hefty 350 pounds. When I look at that man he reminds me of a wandering soul, lost in his own world of secrets and lies. God doesn’t always wait until judgment day to meter out His justice. Some like O.J. may be getting a taste of justice now in this world. It is always a reminder to me that there is a lesson we can learn from the rich and famous: happiness is not found in wealth or in fame. If it was, people like O.J. Simpson, Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby would be the happiest people on earth. This is why Paul tells us to fan into flame the gift of God within us, so that we would not bow in giving our lives to the false gods in this culture. I believe Paul’s words will be even more important as we continue to experience the deterioration of America. All winter long we burn wood in our fireplace in our home and it’s my job to keep the fire going. Periodically, I have to stoke the fire with new wood, so the flame does not go out. The same is true with the gifts of God. Those gifts need to be stoked and fanned into flame, strengthening the boldness of the Holy Spirit within you. Paul said we are not to be fearful, or as the verse above states: “7 For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them."
This is important to understand, because many Christians want to withdraw from the darkness, rather than engage it. Yet, the church is left on earth to push back the darkness through the light of the gospel. Recently I was a part of an interview with a marketing expert. He challenged the common understanding that “content is king” when it comes to delivering a message to an audience. He went on to explain that without “engagement” of the audience the content means nothing. In other words, you may have the best product (the Content) yet if no one is buying it at the stores, (Engagement) you will go broke.
The same principle is present in those of us who follow Jesus Christ. Our “content” of knowing the Lord, His Word, His gifts, His love, His mercy and grace can only know their fullest potential when we are engaging those around us. One of the great sins of our day is busyness, too much to do, in too short of time. Our busyness is keeping the culture alive in our lives, while at the same time it’s snuffing out the flames that need to be stoked for God. As the darkness grows in our world, God will be calling on those who know Him to be more engaging. His gifts were not confined to the walls within the Church; they were to be used to make Him known in the darkness around us. That means we engage the darkness. If God wants none to perish, then we have no choice but to engage the darkness. Once the church learns this principle of engagement, we will begin to see the lives of people changed, both for those who will do the engagement and for those whom we engage.
What’s the word of the day? “Engagement”
What’s the formula? “Content” plus “engagement” brings the truth to people who need it.
Keeping it honest and truthful…K