Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.
— 1 Corinthians 1:22-23
Many years ago, a popular zoo in England had to pay visitors for articles stolen by monkeys. But what puzzled them was the item the animals consistently snatched: eyeglasses. Was it the reflection off the lenses that provoked the theft? No one could figure it out.
So an investigation was conducted by the officials at the zoo to find out the reason for the constant snatching of eyeglasses. It was discovered the monkeys grabbed the glasses when visitors leaned over to read a small sign on the wall of the cage that said: “Beware! These monkeys steal spectacles.”
Often, measures put in place to make something happen only aggravate the situation with unintended consequences. If you tell a small child a toy is off limits, it only piques his or her curiosity and makes the child want the toy even more!
This is why we can’t tell those who aren’t believers that they have to follow this or that aspect of the Christian life, and expect them to embrace Christ based upon that. Instead, we must lead with Christ, not rules, so that we don’t encounter the unintended consequences of driving people away.
Don’t give people rules; give them Jesus. Lead others to Christ first and foremost and trust the Spirit to do the work of obedience in them!
Pray that God would help you saturate your conversations with Jesus, not rules, so that more would come to know the Savior!
Questions for Thought
How might you have been guilty in the past of trying to force unbelievers into Christian obedience? What were the consequences?
In what ways might leading with Christ change how you talk to unbelievers?