I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you. — 1 Corinthians 9:22–23
The Bible says we should not be conformed to this world. It also tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
So how do we impact our culture today? How can we change it for the better? The apostle Paul sheds some light on this: “I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortionist, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world” (1 Corinthians 5:9–10).
The idea is that we want to influence the world, not have the world influence us. And we start by speaking in a language people can understand. As believers, we can get frustrated because it doesn’t seem like people are listening to us. But maybe it is because we sound like we are from a different planet.
If we want to engage this biblically illiterate culture, we have to break the terms down. We can’t assume they understand any of it. If you go to another country where they speak another language, you have to speak to people through an interpreter, or you have to learn the language yourself.
The greatest example of this was Jesus himself. We see Him engage the woman at the well, a woman who had been married and divorced five times and was living with a man she wasn’t married to. Jesus didn’t condemn her. Instead, He built a bridge, appealed to her inner spiritual thirst, and then brought the solution she needed. And that is always the objective of evangelism: to build a bridge, not burn one.
What opportunity do you have today to build a bridge to share the gospel?