Should you make a deal with God?
You may be familiar with the account in the Bible where Abraham pleads with God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16-33). Abraham, motivated by the fact that his nephew, Lot, was living there, wanted God to spare the people in these two cities that had become incredibly corrupt and vile. He reasoned that surely God would not “destroy the righteous with the wicked.” So, Abraham asked, if “there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare
the place for the fifty righteous?" God agrees not to destroy the cities
if he can find 50 righteous people. You probably know Abraham turns
up his “sales pitch” and asks for sparing, even if he can only find 45 righteous. God agrees. Then Abraham tries his request with 30, 20 and finally just 10, receiving God’s agreement each time.
This is certainly an interesting story in the Bible, but it is not my intention to analyze it theologically in this article. Rather, I wanted to bring-up the general question of “making deals with God” in a way that really isn’t controversial and one that you hopefully will find very helpful. It’s related to helping you with evangelism.
Many of us struggle sharing our faith with others, not always knowing what to say or even how to get started. With that in mind, I want to share a “deal” I made with God, that has worked out very well, and I believe it could work well for you, too. Here’s how it goes…
I travel quite often and very frequently sense God wants me to witness to someone specifically along the journey (perhaps in the airport or on a plane, etc.). So here’s the “deal” I made. (I say “deal” very reverentially, because I do not feel that God owes me anything or is obligated in any way to even consider any “deal” coming from me or anyone else.)
I told God that if He would (a) make it fairly obvious who it is He wants me to witness to, and (b) give me a relatively natural way to get into a spiritual conversation, then I would commit to sharing my faith with that person. So far, it’s worked every time! One very important caveat. If at any time in the future, things don’t seem to work out right, I would never feel that God didn’t live up to His end of the bargain. It would just be that I misread something or it just wasn’t God’s timing. I would never, in any way, obligate God to anything, other than those things He has unconditionally promised directly in His Word. Even when dealing with things He has “unconditionally promised,” I would only “hold Him to it,” because He delights in us trusting Him unconditionally.
Here’s just one example of many, where I saw this play out. I was loading my luggage in the car, getting ready to head for the airport. As I opened the trunk, I saw a single copy of the book I wrote, just laying there all by itself. I wasn’t even sure why it was there, but as soon as I saw it, I laughed and said, “OK, God, I know what this means. You want me to put that book in my laptop case and give it to someone on one of the flights during this trip.” So, I picked it up, put it in my laptop case and headed for the airport. I had two flights going out and two coming back. I sensed whoever God had in mind would be on one of those flights. On the first flight, no one sat next to me. On the second flight, I was on the aisle, the middle seat was empty, and a teenage boy sat by the window wearing headphones, staring out the window the entire trip. OK, I guess it will be on the way back home.
A few days later, I was back in the airport, on my way home to Wisconsin. I was again seated on the aisle, and someone else was sitting by the window, but I did not sense they were the person I was to witness to. I concluded it would have to be someone on the final leg of the trip. Just before the cabin door closed, another person boarded and sat in the middle seat right next to me. I’m guessing she was in her late 20s or early 30s. I initially felt that we probably had nothing in common, and it would be fairly difficult to strike up a conversation about anything. However, if this is who God wants me to witness to, then I guess that’s His “problem.” About 10 minutes into the flight, she got out a book and openly started reading. I was looking out the corner of my eye trying to see what it might be about. It was hard to tell for sure, but it actually looked like it was spiritually-related, and one of the pages said something about DNA… so there’s a “hook” right there! A few minutes later she temporarily closed the book and I could see the cover. It was entitled, “Supernatural.” Wow! I smiled to myself and thought, “OK, God, you’ve held up to your end of the bargain, now I have to follow through.”
So, what was my entrance into the conversation? I simply turned to her and said, “Looks like an interesting book.” She got very excited and said, “Yes, it’s fascinating!” I then asked her to tell me more about it, which she did. It turns out the book was about finding a personal “shaman” (spirit-guide). We had a great conversation. If you want to read a bit more about it, see our previous “Question of the Month” article entitled, “What exactly is a shaman?”
The main point of this article is to be more proactive in sharing your faith. I’ve given you just one way you can improve in that area. God delights in helping us evangelize. It may be that other ways work better for you, but whether you “give mine a shot” or not, you should really be praying about doing something. Time is short and none of us are promised tomorrow, so pray that God would give you opportunities even today to tell others about Jesus and their need of the Savior.
I hope this was at least somewhat helpful. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this or any other issue, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
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