Formations 06.05.2022: Low-key Jesus People

John 14:15-17, 25-27; 15:26-27; 16:7-15

I’m an introvert. I married an introvert, and we had an introverted child.

Said child is serving this summer as a children and youth intern at our church. As I write this, she’s in Decatur for her orientation with a bunch of other college students who are going to engage in similar ministry opportunities. She wasn’t afraid of the nights away from home—we’re well past that, thankfully! She wasn’t even afraid of driving solo to get there. I’ve driven in the greater Atlanta area; I wish I were that unafraid on her behalf!

Being an introvert, the one thing she did express concern about was meeting new people and suffering through the icebreaker activities. She told me she was afraid everybody there would be “Jesus people.”

“Uh,” I said, “Wouldn’t everybody planning to work in a church all summer be ‘Jesus people’?”

No, she explained. When she said “Jesus people,” she had a particular image in mind: big Bibles, prayer journals, quoting Scripture left and right, contemporary Christian music. “Jesus people.”

“I believe all that,” she said. “I believe the Bible. I love my church and all it has given me. But at lot of that stuff is not really me. I express my faith differently. I’m low-key Jesus people.”

Friends, in that moment, I felt seen.

I, too, am low-key Jesus people. Maybe you are, too.

I suppose the fact that I’m such an introvert is why I want to cringe when people urge me to be more vocal or exuberant about my faith, or when they assume that the only way to do evangelism is to memorize a four-point presentation and insert yourself into situations where you can deliver it.

On this Pentecost Sunday, we look at four brief passages from Jesus’ Farewell Discourse in the Gospel of John. These verses are good news for folks like me because they underline the truth that evangelism isn’t about what we do in the first place—at least not in the sense we usually think.

Jesus introduces his disciples to “the Spirit of truth” (15:17), whom God sends to abide with the disciples. The Spirit’s mission is to teach, to bear witness, to convict the world, and to glorify Christ. In short, the Holy Spirit is the evangelist par excellence, imparting divine power to the disciples as they go into the world proclaiming the gospel.

That’s how low-key Jesus people bear faithful witness. And maybe, as they live out their faith in simple, unassuming ways, the Spirit works through them to bring glory to Christ. Because they aren’t the teacher, the witness-bearer, or the world-convicter, or the Christ-glorifier. The Holy Spirit is.

Thank God for the engaging, winsome, extroverted Christians who feel comfortable talking to everyone about their faith. But thank God as well for the quiet witness of everyone whose life is shaped by the Spirit of truth in subtle yet powerful ways.

Discussion

• When have you perceived the Spirit working in the ways Jesus describes in these verses?
• What is the Spirit’s role in the ongoing work of Jesus’ followers today?
• What do these verses say about the relationship between Jesus and the Spirit?

Darrell Pursiful is the editor of Formations. He is an adjunct professor at Mercer University and an active member of the First Baptist Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia.

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