Power of Persuasion in the Gospel

by Evi Rodemann

What if we proclaim action and people actually decide to join in? What if they in turn inspire others to follow?

If you are excited about something, you share about it. It may be something materialistic like a car or a movie, or something more emotional like an experience or a a new friendship. Whatever you are excited about, you like to share it with someone so that the personal joy grows even bigger. And it produces ripple effects.

Sometimes more, sometimes less. The more you are passionate about something, the more contagious it can be, the more people want to join. In consequence, maybe even themselves become drivers of an idea and multiply.

For 2018, I felt challenged by God to run a race. I am not a sportive person, nor do I like sweat and training, but I felt God speaking to me about 2 Timothy and running the race well, reaching the finish line.

So I googled a race coming up in July, registered and decided I needed a plan. More than a plan, I needed people helping me, cheering me on, walking this journey with me.

The next day, I shared with my female colleagues in business that I needed to diet and practice running as I had a clear goal in my mind. I wanted to run this race and surely not be the last one to run through!

It was contagious! Four colleagues  joined and we formed a weekly running group, Progress was made and recorded. Various people started to diet with me. Some joined for fun and provided great tips. We would encourage each other on this journey. This provided opportunities for sharing about faith as well, but also had consequences in other areas of life.

I shared what I had on my heart and mind, being excited about it and convinced this is my way forward. And the colleagues were in. Some we had to persuade and it took a little more healthy pushing.

Is this not what the Apostle Paul means when he writes about compelling the Corinthians in his second letter: Christ´s love COMPELS us?

Second Corinthians 5:14-15 says, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

The meaning of the word compel in the dictionary can be three-fold:

  1. a) to force someone to do something, b) to produce a strong feeling or reaction, or c) causing somebody to act or things to happen

As Christians, our compelling ground we stand on is Jesus Christ–the originator of passion and excitement. There is no force involved, but a longing to see somebody act.  As Christians, we long to see everyone believe and act upon the living word; to hear the message and understand and follow Jesus.

I love that the persuasion here starts with love. It is Christ´s love that compels us to go and reach our neighbours, colleagues, fellow students, or the local shop owner. It is not our own making, but our openness to receive.

Several verses describe the connection between the heart and the mouth: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34).

We have received the best message of the world, the good news, which is not only worth sharing, but is also compelling.

It can start with a run, but it should end with introducing Jesus and how together we can run well through life, following him and inviting others to follow the way.

Questions to ponder:

  • How compelled am I by Christ´s love?
  • When was the last time I had this strong urge to share the good news with people around me?
  • What hinders me in sharing?
  • What drives my passions?

Evi Rodemann (@erodemann) is part of the Lausanne European steering team and a member of the Lausanne YLGen Development team, living out her passion of reaching young people and developing younger leaders, especially with a focus on Europe. In 2016, she completed her MA on European Mission with Redcliffe College, UK.