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"Okay, Pastor Mac. I want the power of God to be released in my life, so I'm going to line up with God's purposes and start sharing my faith." Good. You're motivated, for now anyway. But what happens to your new-found zeal the first time you come up against some real persecution? If you're like many believers, it will simply wither like a flower in the scorching desert sun.

It is vital that you, as a Christian dedicated to sharing your faith, know how to maintain your motivation in the face of persecution. And I can assure you, if you're truly living your faith, you will experience persecution. If you've never experienced it, you're either a closet Christian or you've never been born again at all. Persecution and rejection are simply a part of the committed Christian's life. That's because there's a devil out there and he still has people in the world who allow him to work through them.

So how do you keep yourself motivated to a point that your desire to share the Lord with others is greater than your concern about persecution and rejection? There are several scriptural keys. First, you must realize you are designed to have a desire for the things, good or bad, to which you give your attention. In other words, pay enough attention to something and you are going to have a desire for that thing. This holds true for everything from chocolate cake to pornography. It's also true for the things of God.

If you'll give attention to the things God's Word says about being an ambassador for Christ, you'll begin cultivating a desire to be one. Don't allow things in the world to capture your attention - your focus - ungodly desire is the result. Direct your focus (thought life, meditation, attention) to the mandate of scripture, and the desire to share your faith will arise. In addition to such disciplined management of your focus, ask God for these specific heart revelations.

A Place Called Hell
The first revelation you need to stay motivated in the face of persecution is a revelation of hell. When the horrifying reality of hell sinks in, you can't help sharing your faith. We see this principle in operation in a true story Jesus once told His listeners. In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus tells us of a rich man who had no time for the things of God during his life. But when he died and got a glimpse of hell, he suddenly became very evangelistic. He pleaded with Abraham to send a beggar named Lazarus to warn his family about the awfulness of hell: "Then he said, 'I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.' (vv. 27-28)"

This isn't some fairy tale. It's a grim glimpse, delivered by the Son of God Himself, of what lies on the other side of the veil we call death. It's called hell, and it wasn't meant for you or any other person. It's a place prepared for the devil and his angels. Yet, it is the ultimate destination for any person who aligns himself with the satanic rebellion by rejecting Jesus Christ. The good news is, you can use this truth to stay focused on the need to share your faith.

I vividly remember when God opened my eyes to the reality of hell. Prior to that time, hell had been more of a vague concept to me than a genuine place. As a result, I had been asking God to make hell real to me. I knew I needed that revelation if I were to have the motivation to do things I knew I should do.

The answer came in the form of a vision. I saw a countless multitude being pushed toward the edge of a cliff. At the bottom of that cliff was hell. Rising up from the abyss, I heard the most awful screams and wails I'd ever heard.

The river of humanity endlessly flowed toward the edge, the people at the back having no idea what lay ahead. Then my attention was drawn to a father who was leading his little girl by the hand. His facial expression was that of a man who was trying not to show how frightened he was. He obviously didn't know where he was going. He was just following the crowd.

Every so often his little girl would look up at him with a terrified look in her eyes and ask, "Daddy, is everything going to be all right?" And he says, "Yes, honey, just keep walking."

The closer the pitiful couple got to the edge, the louder the horrifying screams grew and the more frightened they became. Yet the man continued to follow the crowd and led his daughter the same way.

Hell became a real place to me that day. I've never thought about it the same way since. I know as never before... this isn't a game. The things we do now are going to determine where some people spend eternity. A revelation of hell will keep you motivated like few other things can.

Just Rewards
The second revelation that will help you stay motivated in sharing your faith is a revelation of rewards. The Bible has quite a bit to say about the rewards (both in this life and in eternity) that await those who are obedient to Jesus' Great Commission. Look, for example, at Luke 16:9, "And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations."

What Jesus is saying in this verse is, "If you'll use your money to get people saved, when you die, they're going to be there waiting to receive you into heaven. When you go home to be with the Lord, all these people are going to be lining the pearly gates to welcome you." Peter calls it "an abundant entrance" (2 Peter 1:11). I want an abundant entrance when I get to heaven. Don't you? I don't want to just sneak in under the wire. I want my Savior to look me in the eye and say, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21).

Daniel tells us that those who have steered others into the path of righteousness in this life will be accorded special honor in eternity; "Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness are like the stars forever and ever" (Daniel 12:3).

Not only are there tremendous rewards awaiting the soul-winning believer in heaven, there are plenty of rewards right here and now. To me there is nothing more gratifying than to have someone I've led to the Lord come up to me and say, "You changed my life. You changed my eternal destiny. Thank you." I must tell you, I get overwhelmed when that happens. It's one of the greatest feelings on earth. And it's one of the many rewards, both present and future, for the believer who will risk occasional rejection in order to share his or her faith. Getting a revelation of those rewards is one important way to stay motivated to do just that.

The Stockpile Factor
The third revelation you need to receive to help you maintain a desire to witness is a revelation of what I call "the stockpile factor." It's a concept derived from a remarkable series of events described in 2 Kings 6:24-25: "And it happened after this that Ben-Hadad king of Syria gathered all his army, and went up and besieged Samaria. And there was a great famine in Samaria; and indeed they besieged it until a donkey's head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and one-fourth of a cab of dove droppings for five shekels of silver." I don't have to tell you, when donkey heads and bird droppings become highly coveted grocery items, times are tough.

Now there were four leprous men at the entrance of the gate; and they said to one another, "Why are we sitting here until we die? "If we say, 'We will enter the city,' the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. Now therefore, come, let us surrender to the army of the Syrians. If they keep us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die." These four lepers had a flash of brilliant insight. "What have we got to lose? Let's go see if the Syrians will feed us. The worst that can happen is they kill us, and we're dying anyway."

And they rose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians; and when they had come to the outskirts of the Syrian camp, to their surprise no one was there. For the Lord had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses - the noise of a great army; so they said to one another, "Look, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us!" Therefore they arose and fled at twilight, and left the camp intact - their tents, their horses, and their donkeys - and they fled for their lives.

God had supernaturally frightened the Syrian army into running away and leaving all their supplies behind. And when these lepers came to the outskirts of the camp, they went into one tent and ate and drank, and carried from it silver and gold and clothing, and went and hid them; then they came back and entered another tent, and carried some from there also, and went and hid it. Then they said to one another, "We are not doing what is right. This day is a day of good news, and we remain silent. If we wait until morning light, some punishment will come upon us. Now therefore, come, let us go and tell the king's household."

Here is where this account becomes relevant to the subject of sharing your faith. One of the strongest motivations of all for telling others about Jesus is a realization of the abundant provision we have in Him.

Just like the people of Samaria, people all around you are literally starving. They're starving for peace. Starving for healing. Starving for forgiveness. Starving for spiritual life. Just like those lepers, you've discovered a veritable king's treasure of provision if you know Jesus Christ. "Treasure?" you ask. Yes! God is supplying all your needs according to "His riches in glory" by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

When that reality hits home, you'll respond the same way those lepers did. You'll say, "I can't keep this to myself. I must tell them, 'You don't have to starve anymore. I've discovered a wealth of provision. Come see for yourself.'"

That's why the devil works overtime to keep you focused on your own needs. Once you recognize all that is yours in Christ Jesus, you're likely to run out and tell someone else about it.

Do It for Love
Finally, the ultimate and overriding motivation for sharing your faith is love. Specifically, the love of Christ. When you love someone, you care about the things they care about. You count as precious those things they hold dear. Well, Jesus cares about lost people. He shed His priceless blood to ransom them from the deadly grip of Satan. He gave His everything for the rankest, vilest sinner that ever walked the earth.

Being in love with Jesus means sharing in His love and concern for a dying world. It means seeing seemingly cold and callused individuals through His eyes - the eyes of compassion. The love of Christ, along with clear revelations of hell, rewards, and the stockpile factor will give you all the motivation you need to proclaim your faith in the face of the harshest persecution. Motivation alone, however, will not make you an effective witness. To truly be successful in winning others to Christ, you need to have a sound strategy. Read on to discover one.

Love Is Not Proud
When God invests in our lives, He intends to get the glory. He taught Israel about this. He pointed out to them that they were taking the credit for the wealth they had. But God said, "No, I'm the One giving you the power to get the wealth." (Deut. 8:18.)God wants us to give Him the glory when we are blessed, promoted and delivered. By doing so, we avoid being arrogant, conceited and puffed up.

The Bible says a proud look is one of the things He hates more than anything. (Prov.6:16,17) God has a problem with people who are always boasting about their accomplishments. Every time you fellowship with them, they want to talk about what they have done and what they bought. They tell you, "Oh, you ain't seen nothing until you've seen mine!" Wait a minute! God wants to make sure that when people hear about your blessings, He gets the glory. People come to church with strife, arrogance, pride and haughty looks. They're puffed up because they get blessed more than others or they grow more spiritually than others. That proud look says, "I did it all myself. I am my own god. I did it my way."

We don't do anything by ourselves. The reason we're blessed is that God loves us so much. Give Him glory for the car! The house! The job! Talk like this: "If it had not been for the Lord on my side, I don't know how we would have had the idea. And once we had the idea, if it had not been for the Lord, I don't know how the money would have come. And even when the money got here, we needed wisdom to put the plan together. And the Lord showed up in the midnight hour and gave us the solution in a dream. It was God who prospered us!"

God is a good God, and His handiwork is worthy to be displayed. Hallelujah! Love is not proud. When God invests in our lives, He intends to get the glory. He taught Israel about this. He pointed out to them that they were taking the credit for the wealth they had. But God said, "No, I'm the One giving you the power to get the wealth." (Deut. 8:18) God wants us to give Him the glory when we are blessed, promoted and delivered. By doing so, we avoid being arrogant, conceited and puffed up.

Anywhere you see the spirit of "I," you see the spirit of Satan. He said, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.... I will be like the most High (Isa. 14:13,14). And he still wants to do this today - through you! Instead of bragging on ourselves, we should be bragging on our God. When we do this, we'll become witnesses to God's power and supernatural abundance. Instead of grumbling and complaining, we'll be able to say, "Did you see what the Lord did? Look at how He honored His Word."

We didn't do it by ourselves. The reason we're blessed is that God loves us so much. Give Him glory for the car! The house! The job! Talk like this: "If it had not been for the Lord on my side, I don't know how we would have had the idea. And once we had the idea, if it had not been for the Lord, I don't know how the money would have come. And even when the money got here, we needed wisdom to put the plan together. And the Lord showed up in the midnight hour and gave us the solution in a dream. It was God who prospered us!"

Anytime you think you did something yourself, remember what God said to Job. He said, in essence, "Job, tell Me how I hung the stars in the sky. Explain to Me why the water comes up on the beach and returns exactly when it should. If you know so much, explain to Me how the earth rotates on its axis. Explain to Me the concept of night and day.

If you know so much, tell Me how the seasons know when to come and go." (Job 38.)We don't do anything without the help of the Master. It's all God! We need to give Him the glory every day for giving us breath in our lungs. We must give Him the glory for every healing we experience and for every dime in our bank accounts. God is a good God, and His handiwork is worthy to be displayed. Hallelujah!

Copyright © Mac Hammond Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Minute, which is seen locally in the Minneapolis area and can also be viewed at winnersminute.com. He is also the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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