Monday, June 18, 2012

I Don't Like Door-to-Door But I Do Love It

We've discussed whether door-to-door is scriptural.  But I need to tell you that I don't like it.  I dread it at least a little every time I go.  The dislike and the dread don't last long.  How it works fits with what Jesus said in John 13:17, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."  He didn't say, "Ye do them if ye are happy."  You don't start with happy.  You end with happy.  You don't have to be happy to get out and do what God wants you to do.  We're sanctified by the truth, not by our feelings.  Our feelings might say no, but we do it anyway, and I have found that in the midst of the obedience, my feelings come along.  I get happier as I go, and I believe that a major cause of this is the Holy Spirit.  When we are submitting to the Holy Spirit,  we see fruit of the Spirit---love, joy, peace---when the indwelling Spirit is happy, then we will be too.

A big problem in evangelicalism today is its emphasis on feelings.  I believe this relates to the widespread pragmatism and mysticism in evangelicalism.  People mistake feelings for the Holy Spirit.  Evangelicals know people want to feel something, so they choreograph it for the effect.  None of this is true spirituality or Christianity.  Evangelicals want growth, and manipulation of feelings is a way to get there.

The emphasis of the New Testament is the mind.  This is what Jonathan Edwards talked about in his Treatise on the Religious Affections.  Affections begin with the mind where a person avows with his inclination.   What he thinks about affects his will, and he does what God says.  That's how true affections operate.  Jesus said that His friends do what He says and to love Him is to keep His Words.  That's how we love Him.

Out of actual love for God, I combat my feelings.  I know what Jesus said and did.  From that knowledge comes my inclination toward preaching to everyone.  I put it in my schedule.  I make myself do it.  I do the same thing, by the way, with exercise.  I jog 2.4 to 3 miles 4 to 5 days a week.  I never feel like jogging.  I always feel a little sick to my stomach, but then I go anyway.  I don't think about jogging the whole way.  I think about jogging to the top of the first hill, and then my mind moves to the next section, and so on.  Discipleship means discipline, making ourselves do things that our flesh doesn't want.

With door-to-door, you've got to adjust your expectations to biblical ones.  Be faithful to preach.  Be faithful to talk to the next person.  You don't think of two to three hours of evangelism.  You think about getting to where you are going.  You think then about the first person.  Scripture talks about this kind of thinking.  Gird up the loins of your mind.  Be strong.  Be vigilant.  There is a mindset that goes with obedient Christianity.  What I'm describing is it.   It is self-denial.

A lot of good things result from this obedience besides the obedience itself.  The obedience is its own reward.  However, you grow by confronting people all the time with the gospel.  The Bible will become way more alive to you.  The repetition will cement doctrine in your head.  You use Scripture so much that it becomes normal for God's Word to be in your mind and come out of your mouth.  You have to deal with so many different situations, that it gives you more motivation to study, to find the answer that you were lacking at a point in time.  This is how God intends for us to grow---truth breaking over the rocks of experience.

People may think you're some kind of Bible scholar that got what you got from memorizing it from studying it.  Where it really comes from is dealing with so many situations that you have put yourself in from going door to door.  You repeat certain truths that become yours.  You face questions that make you think through what you believe.  You grow from this.  The reason you know so much is because of this challenge that you chose to put yourself in.   Between one-on-one discipleship and door-to-door evangelism, I remember so much that I use all the time in the circumstances I face.  You'll be able to help others so much more because you chose to face them all the time.  Other trials will shrink because you put yourself into the trial of a door to door experience.


Bobby said...

Thanks for this. I read it to the men from our church who went house to house evangelizing with me tonight. My partner was my son who is 11. We go because we can't think of how we would fulfill " preach the Gospel to every creature" if we aren't systematically DOING IT. Those last two words are important.

We went through Acts for three years, as a church, and concluded we had better go house to house. It is so obvious you can't miss it unless you just want to miss it on purpose. We don't see many disciples made, but we are going "for his name's sake." HE is honored, glorified and made famous in our obedience.

My dad took me and now I take my son. Amazing grace! What a privilege.

I am like you. It goes so contrary to my ego, flesh, etc. but there is a boldness and joy in obedience. I thank God the Lord works with us in it. BTW, the context of "Lo, I am with you alway" is the going and obeying the command there.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Bobby. I appreciate it. It's an encouragement. We're glad you're doing it and you are choosing to believe it. I agree with you on Acts, and I think that His being with us is in that particular activity. Thank you.