In the last post we talked about the value of “attraction” in bringing people to Christ. We looked at the importance of being set apart and different from our broken world, to the point of gaining people’s attention and raising questions. Here we want to talk about the value of being the same as those we are attempting to reach. That idea might raise a big question mark for some of us. I’ll use another example from fly fishing to illustrate.
In fly fishing it is often very important to have the fly you are using as bait be exactly like the aquatic insects the fish are currently eating. Fishermen call it “match the hatch.” Let me explain how this relates.
In our attempts to share the gospel in our broken world, there are two principles pointing out the importance of being like those around us and to be the “real thing.”
First, consider the “incarnational” model of Jesus. John 1:14 in The Message says, The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. Jesus ate what we ate. He lived where we lived. He experienced what we experienced. As Jesus came into the world and became like us to reach us, we also must be among others and be like them in order to reach them.
We see a similar approach in the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:22,23, . . . I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Secondly, we need to be the “real thing” by having our words and actions align with each other. Our confession as Christ-followers is only as powerful as the authentic evidence in our words and deeds. Jesus had a lot to say to hypocrites. In Matthew 23 alone, Jesus confronts hypocrites six times, saying, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!” It is a solemn warning even today.
Just as a rainbow trout will be disinterested in a fly that looks nothing like something he would normally eat, our non-believing world will be most influenced and attracted to people who:
- Walk the paths they walk, experiencing the trials they experience, know their pains, eat the same food, and do so with joy God provides. It’s the way of Jesus.
- Are authentic and the “real thing”—living lives of integrity—their words the same as their actions.
It’s the way we can “match the hatch.” Being like Jesus, who became like those He came to reach, and who authentically lived a life aligned with the truth of His Father.
Are there ways that you’ve separated yourself unneedfully from the not-yet-believing friends God has positioned you to influence?
Is there a club or activity you could join to increase your connection to not-yet-believing acquaintances?
Are there areas of your life where your actions do not match up with your profession as a Christ-follower?