By Don Gentry
Evangelism is a scary thing to most Christians. When they start to think about telling others about Jesus they get a big lump in their throat, palms start sweating, they get tongue-tied, and sometimes your heart will even start racing. I want to give a few simple ways to share your faith that will seem much more natural and far less nerve-wracking.
Stick with me. Pray each day that God will open a door for you to share His hope. This is the first step. Remember this is a “God” thing not a “you” thing.
It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow.
1 Corinthians 3:7 (MSG)
He told them: “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.
Luke 10:2 (HCSB)
Pray that you are one of the workers! When you begin to pray like this regularly and you actually mean it when you pray it, and you actually believe that God answers your prayers, you will be amazed at how God opens doors for you to speak hope into the lives of others.
For my next two points I have a passage of scripture that I love. This passage really helps to identify my point.
I wrote you in my earlier letter that you shouldn’t make yourselves at home among the sexually promiscuous. I didn’t mean that you should have nothing at all to do with outsiders of that sort. Or with crooks, whether blue- or white-collar. Or with spiritual phonies, for that matter. You’d have to leave the world entirely to do that!
But I am saying that you shouldn’t act as if everything is just fine when one of your Christian companions is promiscuous or crooked, is flip with God or rude to friends, gets drunk or becomes greedy and predatory. You can’t just go along with this, treating it as acceptable behavior. I’m not responsible for what the outsiders do, but don’t we have some responsibility for those within our community of believers? God decides on the outsiders, but we need to decide when our brothers and sisters are out of line and, if necessary, clean house.
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (MSG)
2. Relate intentionally
Stop living in a bubble and start intentionally relating with other people.
What do I mean? I am talking about purposely creating relationships that the church has taught us for years to stay away from. How are we ever going to share Christ with those who don’t know him, if we don’t start relating with those who don’t know him? I am not saying start acting like them; I am saying start being a friend to those who need Jesus.
Let me warn you that when you do this you may find yourself in the middle of a mess, but when you are praying that God will use you to bring hope you will be amazed at the transformation that happens.
Remember, you are choosing to relate, and this process can sometimes take years. We have to earn the right to be heard long before they will hear what we have to say. Christ came to give the sick and hurting hope, it is time we start living as intentionally as he did.
3. Live Differently
We must look different than the world we live in. Let me say as gently as I can, if you don’t ever see God using you to share hope with others, maybe it is because others don’t think you have much hope to share.
Think about it. How do we know who the doctors and nurses are in a hospital? They look, act, and train differently. Many of us lose any credibility to offer Jesus to a lost and hurting world because people see us just as lost and hurting.
You may need to do some serious introspection on verse 11 out of the passage I just gave you. Let me give it to you again because it is so powerful.
But I am saying that you shouldn’t act as if everything is just fine when one of your Christian companions is promiscuous or crooked, is flip with God or rude to friends, gets drunk or becomes greedy and predatory. You can’t just go along with this, treating it as acceptable behavior.
1 Corinthians 5:11 (MSG)
If we want to truly be a messenger of hope, then we have to be different than the world. I get that we are all going to have some different interpretations of practical implementation in our lives, but our standard has to be the word of God.
I can assure you when you start adding these three simple elements to your life you will be amazed at how often God opens the door for you to be able to humbly point others to the absolute hope of Jesus Christ.