When was the last time you prayed for a chance to share your faith? For many Christians it has been a long time. Sure we ask for wisdom, when an opportunity seems to be at hand. In those times of fear and self-consciousness we may shoot up a short “help me,” prayer, or even “Please don’t make me do this. I don’t know what to say” kind of prayer.
We live in an epidemic of fear about sharing our faith. Even our interested non-believing friends have been told we are being pushy and unloving if we do. We don’t feel “properly” trained to share our faith. We have been made to believe that our faith should be held as a closely guarded personal experience. We have seen others made fun of, and lose all credibility when they did share their faith. We all want to be liked, and have come to believe that sharing our faith openly will make us less likeable. One of the things I hear is that we don’t believe “now” is ever the right time, or that our friend is really receptive “today.” So with all these thoughts and fears swirling around in our hearts, we keep quiet, and pray the torch will be passed to some more worthy soul.
But what if we chose to live lives of faith? I don’t mean any disrespect, but please think about it. What if the hearts, and spiritual decisions of our friends weren’t our responsibility? What if it were the job of the Holy Spirit to convict souls? What if our job were to be faithful to bring the good news, and let the acceptance or rejection of that message fall to a personal conversation between our friend and our Lord? What if the world you and I find ourselves in could be much more hostile, and unreceptive, and therefore we should make the bet of every opportunity we can find now? What if we placed our faith in God’s plan to use people like you and I to share the Gospel, instead of placing our faith in our ability to know the spiritual receptivity of our friends hearts? What if when given an opportunity, we simply asked the Holy Spirit to take control of our speech and their ears, so the rest of our conversation would bring glory to God?
If we lived lives like that, I think our prayers would go something like this: Colossians 4:3–6 (NIV) And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
You see our job is to: 1) look for opportunities; 2) proclaim what we know [share how you have experienced a changed life with Christ]; 3) share openly as the Holy Spirit directs; 4) recognize our conversations as a God directed appointments; 5) share with love and grace [even if we share plain truths about the reasons their lives are a wreck]; 6) expect the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts and lips in every conversation.
Realistically, if you have received Jesus into your life and experienced His forgiveness, you are fully prepared to share your faith and invite someone else to journey towards Christ with you. Realistically, we know our Lord wants each of us to share Him with others.
These next weeks, pray with me that you and I will have such opportunities. Pray with me that doors will be opened, and that even our dim eyes will recognize God pointing us to these kinds of exciting conversations. Remember this: God answers prayers which agree with His will for our lives, and you and I sharing the Gospel is high on His agenda.