First Love

by Christy Aanderud

June 30, 2021


Evangelism. It’s never been something I felt myself gifted in. It didn’t come naturally. Kind of embarrassing for a missionary to admit, huh? But I realized a number of years ago that when it comes to the Christian walk, evangelism is a RESULT of something, not the something itself.

I can still remember the moment. I was driving down the 57 freeway, stuck in traffic at the 60 interchange (we were in California for a few weeks of furlough), and as I talked with the Lord about my difficulty in sharing my faith with others, he brought a picture to my mind.

When Danny (my husband) and I had just begun dating, both he and I found ourselves talking about the other person to everyone we knew. The mention of this “new someone” in our lives found a way into almost every conversation. And the deeper our love for each other has grown over the last fourteen years, the more normal it has become to talk about the other person. You can’t know me without knowing all about him.

And the same is true for any relationship. Especially THE relationship. Am I having a hard time mentioning Jesus’ name in conversations, especially with those who don’t know him? Then maybe I need to be spending more time with him, getting to know him better and asking him for an experience of his deep and abounding love for me. Because when we are in a love relationship—and that’s what Jesus wants from us—we can’t help but share it.

Granted, our walk with the Lord—and, in the same vein, our relationships with our spouse or friends—will have highs and lows. We aren’t always feeling it. And that’s when discipline and obedience are especially paramount. Just because we don’t feel the lovey-dovey feelings all the time doesn’t mean we don’t share the message of his love with others. But I will propose that in those low times especially, our focus should be leaning into him first and foremost.

And bringing Jesus into conversations still brings up my own insecurities: “What will they think?” “Will I seem like a religious whacko?” “I hope I don’t mess this up.” But that has slowly been changing. Pointing others to Jesus isn’t about mentioning his name and hoping the listener doesn’t run away, but more about being a vessel through which his love pours out onto others. And it can be as simple as saying, “I believe that God is good and he loves us. Can I pray for you?” That one question can move mountains.

I can honestly say that as I pursue a love affair with Jesus, my desire for others to know him—and my courage in telling them—only grows. His love is so good, so perfect, so COMPLETE. The more I abide with him—reading his Word, listening for his voice, worshiping, receiving the Holy Spirit—the more my heart beats in time with his. And it begins to beat FOR his children. His love, when we let it flood our hearts, overflows to those around us. And they, in turn, are themselves drawn into intimacy with him. That’s the end game!

All ministry, every ministry, flows out of this: intimacy with our first love. If you haven’t experienced it, all you need to do is ask. He’s waiting.

Christy abides with Jesus and shares her love for Him with the people around her in Oxford, England, where she and her family serve with Novo.