I have a friend who says he’s going to “get right with God” after 21 (for obvious reasons). I told him he could die tomorrow, but he says he’s willing to take that risk. What advice do you have on how to get him to reconsider?
He’s not really saying he’ll get right with God later. What he’s saying is, “This is my cover for you to stop hooking me up with Jesus. He’s nice and all but no thanks.”
Your major temptation here will be to find a magic bullet, some argument or tactical missile or spiritual uppercut, to convince your friend into loving Jesus. It’s like trying to hook him up with a girl that he doesn’t really find attractive. What you find wonderful and majestic and all-consuming, he finds trite, cliche, and otherworldly.
You’d think that the offer of eternal life and grace and mercy and forgiveness for his sin plus the joy and purpose and power of life given by the Creator God would be a good sell, but for many people the shallow pleasures on this earthly plane look better. You know, the Bible talks about those in darkness. Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:4). They themselves suppress the truth (Romans 1:18). Satan has even kidnapped the unsuspecting (2 Timothy 2:26), the Greek word here literally meaning like a sheep carried off by a freaking hawk.
For now, of course, be there for him. Pray for him. Keep in touch. Bring it up gently now and then. Leave the door super-wide open. Because at the end of his sin at rock bottom when he has real questions, he might come searching for you. If you’re the “I-told-you-so” guy or you had the gentleness of a jackhammer, he won’t find you. You can’t win him but God can, and God may do it through you. Some will reject, but with all love and humility act like everyone can receive.
You’ll want to be impatient and try to control. Please, for the sake of Jesus’ good name, be patient and let the Holy Spirit do His thing. You in your own power cannot open the eyes of the blind. It takes a miracle for that. Ask God for one.
25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
– 2 Timothy 2:25-26