EVAN’s obligation: Replacing urgency with faith
Heart pounding, knees shaking, I listened to my EVAN 101 professor outline the assignment requirements for the evangelism paper. My forehead wrinkled and eyes directed to the floor, something within me didn’t feel right as I began to prepare myself for approaching and talking to an unbelieving stranger.
I took EVAN 101 in the fall semester of my freshman year of college and can honestly say that I was initially looking forward to it. Upperclassmen I knew told me that it was an amazing course that impacted their faith immensely.
And it was amazing — at first. The lectures were engaging, the students around me asked good questions and it felt like a good introduction to Liberty courses. Once I learned of the required, uncomfortable and point-heavy evangelism assignments, I began to look at that same class in a different way. I began to feel a weight that I couldn’t shake. We all felt it.
One Saturday afternoon, a fellow student tried to evangelize me outside of Williams Stadium and, in that moment, I saw a mirror of the discomfort, awkwardness and misplaced urgency that I felt. I became concerned that the reasoning behind why I was sharing the gospel was unbiblical. To put this clearly, I feared that if I shared the gospel for a grade, I would effectively be violating my conscience; I feared cheapening and misrepresenting the good news of Christ Jesus.
Some see engaging the evangelism assignment as a “choose the lesser of the two evils” scenario. They’d rather complete it with a questionable conscience (effectively sinning, as stated by Romans 14:23) than get a bad grade or lie about completing their assignment (I’ve had friends pick this option as well). I chose to see it as an opportunity to walk faithfully with God in spite of my discomfort.
I couldn’t change my circumstances. EVAN 101 is a required course, and I wanted to get an A in that class. However, I could reorient my focus.
I began to pray frequently that the Lord would provide an opportunity for me to share the gospel without thinking about the grade, fully focused on sharing the love and truth of my savior. It wasn’t until a retrospective conversation with my father that I realized I had done exactly that: I had a conversation that fulfilled all of the paper requirements with an unbelieving classmate. Doubting that I had actually accomplished this, I prayed again for another gospel conversation. Not long after, I had a difficult conversation with a friend that hit all the points that EVAN 101 required.
Whether you agree with this assignment or not, if you are a Christian, you have an obligation to live faithfully and truthfully to the best of your ability and to glorify God in all that you do (1 Corinthians 10:31). You may not be able to control your circumstances, but you can control your responses to them. I learned this lesson through wrestling with my uncertainty and ultimately determining that I trusted my heavenly father to provide me with what I needed to honor both him and my professor.
So, as many of you freshmen gear up to complete these assignments, take a deep breath and prayerfully approach the situation. It worked for me.
Glen is an opinion writer for the Liberty Champion