“Our imaginations are the most powerful faculty we have as humans.”
Engaging culture can call for factual, logical reasoning… or it can take a well-told imaginative story that sparks our interest.
Os Guinness offers an example from Scripture. King David, leader of Israel, has committed adultery with Bathsheba and has ordered the murder of her husband. God has sent Nathan the prophet to confront David – but Nathan needs to get his attention first.
“He wants to bring David to conviction. But the repentance that you see in Psalm 51 is spring-loaded in Nathan’s brilliant parable. Of course, David does not know it’s a parable. As king, he had law cases brought to him – scores of times every week. So for him, it’s just another law case.”
David was engrossed in the story Nathan tells and burns with anger at the arrogance of the man in the story. He bursts out with his judgment – “He deserves to die!” Nathan anticipated the king’s response and counters it – “You’re the man!” (The full story is found in 2 Samuel 12:1-14)
The well-spun tale springs David’s mind open to repentance. Os says that’s the key to its success.
“Questions are dynamic because they’re indirect and they’re involving. You don’t know where they’re going and the person being asked the question has to give the answer. But stories have something else. They’re indirect, they’re involving, and they’re imaginative.”
That creativity comes from the Holy Spirit. We need to equip ourselves with the knowledge of Scripture and then entrust ourselves to the power of the Holy Spirit when interacting with unbelievers. Regardless of our method of sharing the gospel – we need to be led by the Holy Spirit. He leads today just as He led the early followers of Jesus two thousand years ago.
“You take something like the book of Acts – it’s not the acts of the apostles; it’s the acts of the Holy Spirit. How does the Gospel get to Ethiopia? The Spirit tells Phillip to go and meet the official. How does it get to Europe? Paul didn’t want to go to Europe. The Spirit gives him this vision of the man from Macedonia, over he goes, and world history is changed. In the same way today we should be led by the Spirit. We’ve got to bring back a practical reliance on the Holy Spirit.”
Featured Songs: Rock of Ages by Steven Curtis Chapman; The Lord’s Prayer by Selah; ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus by Steven Curtis Chapman