By Laura Bailey, Crosswalk.com
"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength…” -Ephesians 1:18-19, NIV
Our church began a new class on sharing your faith without fear. I shared with friends how excited I was for this class to start, and I couldn’t wait to learn more. With quizzical expressions, they asked why I would need a course like this; sharing the gospel seemed like second nature for me.
As a believer for multiple decades, active in our church, and faith writer and speaker, people often think that evangelism is natural for me. While I have been blessed with the gift of gab and don’t mind sharing my thoughts on the web or presenting to a group, one-on-one evangelism makes my heart race, my palms sweaty, and a slight rash develops on my neck.
Why do we often find it challenging to share the gospel with people? Many Christians have an intense faith and desire to see people be saved, yet when it comes down to having the conversation, they find it difficult. Some reasons we discussed in class were fear, rejection, not knowing what to say, and nervousness.
Yes, to all the above, I’ve experienced these emotions and many others. Maybe you have, too?
However, recently, what’s held me back is the discouragement I feel when people don’t accept the message or completely shut me down. Maybe we have a good initial conversation, but it stops there. I walk away wondering what I did wrong, questioning if I could have said something differently or better, or sometimes, I hate to admit, I just stop pursuing gospel conversation altogether.
Friend, if you’ve felt this way, let me encourage you. Rarely will leading someone to salvation be a one-and-done conversation. It could be a lifetime of interactions, years of gathering together, or, at the very least, multiple conversations before someone accepts Christ. We are finite creatures; we only see what is happening on the surface. But God, he is infinite. He isn’t bound by time and constantly works “behind the scenes.” There are many times I want to see behind spiritual curtains, but I have to trust that through my obedience and faithfulness, the Lord is moving and working in people's lives.
I say it often, but it is a truth we need to speak over ourselves and our brothers and sisters in Christ; nothing is wasted in God’s economy; he uses it all to bring people to Christ and bring Himself glory.
After reading Paul’s words in Ephesians, I changed my prayers for the lost souls from “please save _______” to asking the Lord to open their eyes and hearts to receive the Gospel. Only the Lord can save people, but he graciously allows us to work with Him to bring people to Christ. We are the instruments and tools the Lord uses; we can make an eternal impact, even when we can’t see the results.
God desires that all will come to know Him (1 Timothy 2:4-6); He loved the world so much that He sent His son to die on the cross for our sins so that we would have eternal life (John 3:16). While salvation is only available through accepting Jesus, Paul tells us that people can’t call on the name of the Lord without hearing the Gospel. And how do they do that? With Christ's extraordinary power, ordinary Christians get to share the good news (Romans 10:14-15).
The next time you feel the Holy Spirit nudge you, share your testimony and ask if they know Jesus. Pray that the Holy Spirit will guide your conversation and that the Lord will soften their hearts to hear the only message worth repeating. Remember, God loves the person you share with so much that he made a way for them to have a personal relationship and salvation through Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, we can’t say it enough: thank you. Thank you, thank you for the gift of salvation. We pray that we will be bold in sharing the good news. Help us not to get discouraged but press on, knowing that You are always at work. We pray for unbelievers that the eyes of their hearts will be enlightened so that they can know You (Ephesians 1:18). We love You. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
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