Evangelization Temptation

Evangelization Temptation

There can be a temptation that hangs out in the shadows of well-intentioned efforts to proclaim the Gospel and witness to Jesus – manipulation.

It usually isn’t outright and obvious, but, slowly and surely, a push-and-pull, objectifying mindset can creep in. We can start to just want our efforts to work. We want success and results (as we would understand them). So we start to look at people as binary points of data that we want to flip from 0 to 1. We start to look less at people as someone (a Thou) and more as “someone whom I’m trying to evangelize”. People become projects and we start to view them as problems for which we are looking for solutions. We approach efforts of evangelization just as a technocratic American would approach anything else! This is a temptation to try and play God. Sound familiar?

Maybe the word ‘manipulation’ is too strong, but we can be plagued by a mindset that doesn’t respect the mysterious dialogue between God and a soul and just wants to move someone somewhere. In this mode, we don’t really love people; we are objectifying them (seeing them as a means to an end).

In our efforts to preach the Gospel and witness to Jesus, the possibility is always there to lose sight of Whose mission this actually is and Who is doing the real work. A sign of this is when we lose our ability to be in awe of the conversations we have. They devolve from trying to help someone meet Jesus into trying to convince someone – just trying to find the right collection of words that will “work” – or trying to bring them into our Catholic club (“because, we’re right, you know?”). When we lose a sense of the totally mysterious, intimate, secret interplay between individual persons and the Holy Spirit, we need to be careful.

A great help in trying to combat this temptation is fasting. It’s not obvious how depriving the body of some good pleasure helps pummel our flesh, but it just does. It enables us to be humbler, smaller, and more hopeful before the God Who is – to know that we are creatures and He is the Creator. Fasting as a part of our efforts in evangelization is no different.

Give it a whirl! And please comment below to continue the conversation.

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Joey McCoy

Joey McCoy

Joey McCoy is the Assistant Director of i.d.9:16. He graduated from medical school in 2017, but felt Jesus pull him out of medicine to do full-time ministry. Joey's passion is to help people discover and embrace the most authentic ways of being "a people of God on the move" and how to live the way of life of Jesus in myriad contexts. Additionally, Joey is married, a father and enjoys the ocean, Michigan football, used bookstores and hunting for the finest espresso
Joey McCoy

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One thought on “Evangelization Temptation

  1. Fasting as a part of evangelization is so critical. In my own experience, the Lord has used fasting for my own spiritual growth (growth in virtue: humility, compassion, patience, etc.) and for the spiritual benefit of others. Fasting should be a sacrifice done out of love. When we offer a day of fasting up for a certain intention, the Lord knows how difficult it is for us and it pleases Him that we would “suffer”and make a sacrifice for the good of another. After all, is that not what Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross was for? The Good of Mankind!

    Therefore, when we offer up a fast (giving up internet or dessert, or simply subsisting off of bread & water for the day), the Lord converts our fast into powerful graces that He can use to change hearts, minds, bodies, and souls. In other words, and this analogy may be a stretch, but our Fasting is like the trash that Doc from Back to the Future uses to fuel his car. It may not seem to make sense to our human minds, but it works–it’s powerful and effective, and He tells us so (James 5:16)! Also, in reference to Isaiah 64:6, even our righteous deeds are like filthy rags, when compared to Christ’s sacrifice, but since God knows our hearts, He can still use fasting to transform the hearts of nonbelievers. When we give God something, He gives us even more back in return! Because that’s how love operates! Fasting is so crucial for spirit-filled, evangelizing Catholics! We must spread the efficacious truth about Fasting to our friends and family members, for it is through prayer and sacrifices that we can and will change the world!

    The combination of prayer and fasting is riddled throughout the scriptures, so you know that God longs for us to implement these two powerful spiritual weapons. In Acts 14:23, we’re told, “with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe”. Let us offer up this efficacious combination for the conversion of souls, success in our ministries, and with the hope that the Holy Spirit will work through us in our evangelistic efforts!

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