We eliminate barriers to give people access to Christ.
This week our staff had a productive and helpful meeting that was based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I was left with a deep appreciation for the complexity of people. In addition to our unique wiring, God has added experiences, spiritual gifts, gender bents, and individual passions and talents. The end result is an incredible diversity among all of us! It is astonishing and wonderful, all at the same time!
In God's developing story of creation, people are what Jesus died for. Another way to look at the value of people is to realize that "people and God's words are the only thing here on earth that will last forever."
Connecting people to God is the pinnacle of life. In the end, it is the only thing that will last and matters. Larry Crabb wrote one of my favorite books about connecting with people. Interestingly enough, it is called Connecting!
In my paperback copy of the book, page 165 reads,
We connect with others when we enter the battle for their souls and when we envision what God may be doing in their lives.
(read that again if you need to...its worth really understanding...)
What I really like is how Crabb develops the practical aspects of this. He lists 5 implications:
#1. A Spirit-inspired vision sometimes includes an idea of what a person could do, but it always centers on who that person could become.
(A vision from God may involve the practical side of life, but it always centers on matters of the heart, on issues of character.)
#2. A Spirit-inspired vision for someone reliable creates anguish in the heart of the visionary.
(To care about someone's spiritual maturity will always involve suffering. Final victory is guaranteed, but along the way, temporary setbacks or serious defetions create levels of anguish that reduce us to prayer. Good visions hurt. Rom 9:2-4, Gal 4:19)
#3. A Spirit-inspired vision is necessarily the product of spiritual discernment. Without ongoing fervent prayer, our vision for others becomes self-serving.
(Most of our visions for people are better left unstated. Without prayer and a growing sensitivity to God's Spirit, our vision reflects arrogance and becomes rudely impositional: "Here's what you should do.")
#4. A Spirit-inspired vision sometimes develops best when the one about whom we're forming the vision is farthest from God.
(When facades are ripped away, we have the opportunity to draw into the council of God, to deepen our dependence on him, and, as our wrong dreams shatter, it allows us to hope again, this time in Christ.)
#5. A Spirit-inspired vision is less concerned with practically moving someone in a good direction and more concerned with catching a glimpse of what could be.
(Friends who develop visions for others that come from God know that only God can bring them to pass. So they pray and love and listen.)
On the few occasions I have followed Crabb's advise for connecting to people and giving them access to Christ, I have found the journey to be life changing for me. By God's grace and design, "to give people" access to Christ is to follow Christ into his sufferings and continual prayer dependence on him. In the end, my growth and my life-change is included in God's amazing, sovereign and beautiful plan. By giving to people, I get the biggest miracle of all...my heart drawn close to God. Praise be to God!