Are you ready to share your faith in Jesus?
Telling your friends, family and collegues about Jesus may not always be easy, but it should be a key part of our lives. Gary Gibbs shares some helpful tips to help increase your confidence.
I can still remember the first time anybody asked me to explain my new-found faith. It was a Tuesday morning and I was walking to school with my best mate, Geoff. I had been following Jesus for around 18 hours. All I really knew was that I had been blind, but now I could see. So I told Geoff that I was now a Christian.
“What’s it all about, then?” he asked. “err, it’s about…err…oh yeah! It’s about God!”
“What about him?” said Geoff. “err… he loves you!” blurted me.
“How do you know?” continued my interrogator. “err… I just do! Alright?”
It wasn’t the best start to my evangelistic ministry! But I think I could make a better job of it today!
I do believe that we are called to mature in all ways; faith sharing is not excluded from this! So, what does a mature witness look like?
Understanding the times
In 1 Chronicles 12:32 we read about the men of Issachar who “…understood the times…”. Some commentators believe that these men were politically astute and had a good knowledge of how things worked in the nation.
Sometimes we can be quite naïve in how we present the Gospel to others simply because we haven’t thought about what will scratch where our culture is itching. For example, beginning an evangelistic conversation with someone by explaining something about the eternal destination of those who do not trust in Jesus will not generally open them up to the message. In any case, our Good News is not primarily “turn or burn/try or fry/miss the abyss”.
When Peter preached at Pentecost, he began where the people were and explained what the wind, fire and tongues were all about. And, because his audience were committed Jews, he used the media they knew best; the Old Testament. Contrast this with Paul in Athens(Acts 17) when he shares the Gospel by pointing to pagan temples and quoting from Greek poets and philosophers!
Understanding the people
Rather than simply having some pre-packaged Gospel presentation, let’s remind ourselves that the Holy Spirit lives in us! He can manifest spiritual gifts through us to amaze, bless, convict and bring people to the point of salvation.
The gift of discernment of spirits (1Cor 12:10) is not available simply for demon spotting! How about discerning the human spirit? God can help us to ‘tune in’ to what is going on in someone’s life, in their heart, in their mind. This can help us to tailor our communication of God’s rescue plan to the particular person we are with.
Understanding the Faith
These days it seems as if sometimes words like ‘doctrine, theology, apologetics’ are seen as dirty words or unnecessary issues for a contemporary believer. But if your faith is no more than a feely/floaty thing, it will not stand the test of examination from a thoughtful seeker. Loving God with our mind as well as our heart, soul and strength is key. Otherwise, those we share with will walk away shaking their heads at our shallowness and, possibly, we may end up walking away from a faith which we think doesn’t hold water or have intellectual credibility.
And what about Geoff?
Today he is a man of God. It took about five years for him to encounter Jesus after my first feeble attempts, but he got there! What a relief to know that even when we are baby believers and we understand very little of the Gospel, the Lord takes our equivalent of five bread rolls and two sardines and multiplies the effectiveness. But let’s not make that an excuse for remaining stuck in shallowness and self-imposed naivety!
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