Sharing Your Faith
Some people are gifted. They are able to articulate and share their faith in Christ with relative ease. When in conversation with an unbeliever, they can weave the gospel seamlessly into the discussion and appear to have the ability to pique the interest of whoever they are talking to. But what about the rest of us? Many believers find the opposite to be true of themselves when it comes to sharing their faith. Rather than relative ease, there seems to be an unusual amount of difficulty that accompanies their efforts in evangelizing the lost. Are we off the hook when it comes to sharing our faith simply because it may be more difficult for us? Do we just leave sharing the good news of Jesus to the ones who don’t seem to stutter, fidget nervously, or stumble over their words? Absolutely not.
Personal Growth and Joy
Yes, others may be uniquely gifted. Yes, we may struggle in this area. But that does not mean that, as a believer, we are to never share our faith. Jesus tells his disciples to go and make disciples. This is referred to as the ‘Great Commission’ (Matthew 28:18-20). Contained within this commission is the mission of God—he wants disciples. God is reconciling a lost world back to himself—for his glory—through the gospel of Jesus.
If you want your life to matter, have purpose, and be filled with joy, then one must make God’s primary mission their primary mission. That is one reason every believer should share their faith—so they grow themselves.
God chose you and he wants to use you. Yes, you. The ‘you’ full of weakness, doubt, shyness, and whatever else holds you back from sharing your faith. God knew all that when he chose you. But it didn’t change his mind. The power of God to change a heart does not rest on all the things we often think it does: how well we articulate, how creative we are, and what we sound and look like. The power of God unto salvation comes through the gospel message itself. So, in some regards, when we let our own personal weakness stop us from sharing our faith, we are holding back the power of God from transforming lives.
For those of you who struggle to share your faith, don’t beat yourself up. You are not alone. Some of the most impactful and well-known preachers and evangelists of our time started out feeling the same way. Honestly, whether sharing your faith is easy or difficult for you, we could all use some practical and biblical help (or reminders) when it comes to this area of spiritual life.
Some Practical Help
Only God can convert a heart. We don’t need to put pressure on ourselves to make someone commit to Christ—we can’t. We are not the one who forgives sins, changes hearts, and has eternity in the palm of their hands. There is nothing you or I can do to make a person convert to following Jesus. We must be careful not to equate someone walking away from a gospel presentation unchanged with failure. God calls us to simply ‘plant’ the gospel message in people’s hearts. He is the one that waters it and makes it grow.
Avoid having an argument. It’s easy to find yourself with your nostrils flared and heart racing at the end of a conversation about your faith. You can walk away and later lament about how the encounter went. Remember, our objective is not to win an argument but to win a person to Christ. I doubt many people have been ‘argued’ into the Kingdom of God. There is a time and place for making your point and standing your ground, but we should not allow ourselves to be drawn into an argument.
Don’t present a false gospel or a near-gospel. The gospel message is powerful. The Son of God died in sinful humanity’s place—absorbing the wrath of God—so we could be freed from the power and penalty of sin. He rose from the dead for our salvation and now beckons us to respond to this message with repentance, trust, and humility. But we can present a gospel to others that is ‘watered-down’; one that leaves out the parts that might make others squirm. We can also present something that is overly complex and full of rules that strips the gospel message of its’ simplicity and power. And the most dangerous of all, we can proclaim a message that has no power to save. Many times, in our mind, we think we need to help God out; like the simple gospel message is not enough and we need to ‘spice’ it up or make it more palatable. When it comes to what you say and how you present the gospel message, keep it simple. God will provide the power.
Don’t get discouraged when it goes bad. Notice the use of the word ‘when’ and not ‘if’. If you regularly share your faith, there will come a time when it goes bad. You may have trouble conveying the message, the person becomes angry, or a whole host of other occurrences may take place. Take heart. God has chosen imperfect people to share his perfect message. At times, we will have difficulty doing it. This does not mean we should stop or beat ourselves up. Maybe just consider what happened, pray, and think about how it should affect your future evangelism efforts. Additionally, many times believers have walked away from such encounters and viewed them as failure. Come to find out, the person they shared with had later come to know and serve Christ. What first appeared to be a failure had actually been transformed into success through God’s work and power!
There is not an exact formula to follow in order to successfully share your faith. Sometimes we may be prompted spontaneously by the Spirit to share with someone we just met. In other instances, we labor, pray, and share with someone we have developed a close relationship with over the years. Some conversations regarding faith happen easily, and other times we may have to be patient and wait for the proper opportunity to share. There is only one message but there are many methods.
Listen to them. No matter what situation we find ourselves in, one thing is important. Sharing our faith is not always about talking. We need to take time to listen. Listening to the people we are sharing with is a vital part of evangelism. Lost people are in pain; they are hurting and often there is no one to listen to them. There is no one to answer their questions and open their ears (and hearts) to those hurts. The gospel message has to be communicated, but taking the time to listen to someone will make it more impactful when it is shared.
Get to the cross! Sharing your testimony is powerful. Especially when you are sharing with someone who is struggling with the same sins you were delivered and saved from. But, all too often, we spend too much time talking about ourselves. Yes, we can give others hope through our personal testimony, but people really don’t need to hear about us as much as they need to hear about Jesus.
Pray. When you know you are going to have an opportunity to share your faith, pray. After you have shared your faith, pray. Pray, pray, and pray some more. Pray for that person by name. Ask God to do what you cannot—change their heart and move powerfully in their life. The element of prayer is just as important, if not more, as verbally sharing the gospel message with someone.
Be honest. People need to see authenticity and honesty. Don’t exaggerate or paint the Christian life as something it is not. Also, if you are asked some tough questions about your faith, don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know. But I will find out the answer for you if I can.”
We have been called to make a difference in our world—to be salt and light. It is not something we should take lightly. Sharing your faith is often motivated by guilt or an arm twist from a Christian leader. That should not be so. As believers, we should be so in awe of the saving work and transformation that Jesus has done in our own lives that we desire for all to have the same experience. Sharing your faith is about love—loving others and loving God. May we grow in both and go forth in boldness with the truth!