Come, see a man who told me all the things that I have done; this is not the Christ, is it?
—John 4:29

Another way to influence our culture, which Jesus illustrates in john 4, is to distinguish between major issues and minor issues. In this series we’ve looked at some explosive truths. But let me be clear: all of those truths are secondary issues compared to a person’s relationship with God.

Did you know you don’t have to believe evolution is a myth to be a Christian? You don’t have to believe homosexuality is a perversion in order to go to heaven. You don’t have to believe husbands ought to lead their families to go to heaven when you die. The only truth you have to embrace in your life is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth to die for your sins. And by trusting in Him, you can have forgiveness. That’s the only truth you have to embrace to be in heaven one day. All other truths are secondary.

Jesus illustrates that in John 4 in His encounter with the woman at the well. For example, beginning in verse 15, Jesus found out about her moral condition. He already knew about it, but He got her to admit it. It turned out she had been married five times, and she was now living with a man who wasn’t her husband. But Jesus didn’t give the woman a lecture on sexual abstinence. He didn’t say to her, “You need to clean up your life.” She tried to distract His focus on her personal life by engaging Him in a theological discussion. But Jesus didn’t want to get involved in a side theological debate. He said, “The real issue is your relationship with God.”

If you are genuinely trying to influence somebody to become a Christian, don’t get involved in side issues. The real issue is the person’s relationship with God. Don’t expect unbelievers to embrace spiritual truth until they have, first of all, embraced the One who is the author of all truth, Jesus Christ. Learn to distinguish between major and minor issues.

Finally, if you are going to influence people in our culture, you have to reflect the love of Christ. Remember, a debater’s goal is to win the debate. A disciple’s goal is to win the other person. Unfortunately, too many people have been turned off to the gospel, not because of the offense of the cross but because of the offensiveness of other Christians. Isn’t it interesting that after this woman had the encounter with Christ, John 4:29 tells us that she ran into the city to tell people what had happened to her? But notice, she didn’t go into the city and say, “Come, listen to a set of ideas that have changed my mind.” No, she said, “Come and meet a man who has changed my life.” Our goal is not to win people to a set of beliefs; it’s to win people to a person, Jesus Christ, and the way we do that is by reflecting His love. You see, the more we know and reflect the love of Jesus Christ, the more likely we are to influence them to embrace the One who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Influence Our Culture for God” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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