We live in a world where pain and loneliness lurk around every corner. Almost daily, I talk to people who long for hope and help. Life can be hard even for the most mature Christians. Think about how difficult it must be for others. Most people do not know the deep joy that comes from the love of God and his people. They often settle for heartbreaking substitutes (such as drugs) that make empty promises and leave people more desperate and broken than before.
As a college minister, I have noticed more people genuinely looking for spiritual remedies to this misery than ever before. I currently have several friends who are not even sure they believe there is a God, but they are coming to worship services with open minds to investigate whether what the Bible says is true. I do not know if this is generational, geographically isolated, or if we are experiencing a mass move of God.
However, as Christians, we can either be lights that point them in the right direction or distractions that blur reality. According to one of the biblical authors, we have a responsibility to not only teach people about the love of God but to live it out before them. By doing this people will be able to see God more clearly. He says, “Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:11–12 (CSB).
Here are some ways to love others and help them see God:
- Love other Christians – The brotherly love that Christians have for one another is an incredible testimony to people who do not yet believe. Too often they see us bickering on social media or not loving well. They need to see us practicing the numerous “one another” passages from the Bible. “And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24, CSB). Let us strive to love one another, bear with one another, honor, serve, forgive… one another.
- Be present – It will be nearly impossible for people to see God’s love in you if they are not around you. Eat meals together, learn about them, listen to them, invite them to your home, go on a walk, sit by them at a sporting event, take them to church… Invite, Invite, Invite.
- Put them first – Meet them where they are. Do not demand your way. Emulate the humility of Jesus who made himself a servant (Philippians 2:1-11).
- Study the Bible with them – I am seeing a surprising eagerness from young adults to see what the Bible says. However, it’s a big book and many people need help understanding it or finding the passages that cover key doctrines.
- Be generous – Use your resources and talents to show them the love of Jesus. Buy them supper, open your home, share your knowledge, tell them about Jesus, and be kind, patient, and forgiving.
- Pray for them and with them – It means a lot to people when friends who do the things mentioned above also pray for and with them. Teach them how to talk to God. Give them tips about prayer techniques that many people take for granted. Give them topics to pray about.
- Love unconditionally – What if they don’t love you back, become a Christian, agree with you? What if they constantly give into sin? Love, love, love. Patiently rebuke and liberally encourage. We never know when seeing God’s love in us might be the way God uses the Gospel to draw them to himself.
Stop delaying. Prove your love for others. People need to see God’s love through you. Pull out your calendar or phone right now and schedule a meal, coffee, or some creative way to spend time with people who need to see the love of God in you. Be bold and courageous. Do not be ashamed of the Gospel. God will use this to radically impact the lives of those around you. I see it every day.
This article was written by Phillip Slaughter, Baptist Collegiate Minister for University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.