Your story is personal, but not private
By: Alane Zlotnicki (“article courtesy of NewSpring Church,” “copyright © 2018 NewSpring Church)
We all have our personal soapbox, that topic we never tire of talking about and want everyone to appreciate as much as we do. It could be a sports team, our kids, or a social issue we feel strongly about.
Wanting to persuade others to agree with you is normal. Wanting to share good news or life-saving advice is noble. So why do so many of us avoid sharing the Gospel, the most life-changing news we’ve ever heard?
If we have accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation, we have the best news ever. But no one will know about it if we don’t tell them.
Religion and politics are traditionally taboo subjects. They are the source of endless name calling and nastiness on social media. We’ve been told that talking about Jesus is intolerant, and no one wants to be that. But God says the opposite (Mark 16:15). If we have accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation, we have the best news ever. But no one will know about it if we don’t tell them (Romans 10:14-17).
We aren’t all Billy Graham, but we each have a story about how Jesus changed us. God puts people in our lives so we can tell them about His goodness. Our story may be exactly what they need to hear to keep going.
Three Tips for Sharing the Gospel
1. Pray for the right words to say at the right time.
The apostle Paul was bold in sharing the Gospel but he didn’t approach missions as a solo endeavor. Paul knew his words would be most effective when they were directed by the Holy Spirit.
Paul asked fellow believers to “Continue steadfastly in prayer…(and)...at the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ...that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak (Colossians 4:2-4).”
Proverbs 25:11 says a word spoken at the right time is like gold apples on a silver tray. Asking God to show you whom to speak to and when prepares both your heart and theirs so your words don’t fall on deaf or hostile ears.
2. Focus on the value of what you have to share.
After spending a decent amount of time in the dark, your eyes begin to adjust. You can quickly forget how limited your vision is — until someone turns on the light.
As Christians, we have the ability to turn on a light for those who are hurting or looking for answers. In Matthew 5:16, Jesus says, “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Jesus is the light. His presence in us shines through us. And, it’s His presence the world needs. When we remember that Jesus is the hero in this story, not us, our awe for Him will be obvious and we’ll find it easy to share the reason for our hope with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).
3. Remember, you are not alone.
Jesus told His followers to tell people what they had seen and heard because we are His plan to save the world (Matthew 28:19-20). There is no plan B. God’s people are how others will know that His kingdom is coming.
Jesus doesn’t expect us to take on this mission alone. He promises we “will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Trust the Holy Spirit to put the right words in your mouth for your audience. After all, He’s been preparing them to hear from you.
When we make ourselves available to God to share His Words in His timing and His location, we can be confident that our words will be a blessing, not a source of groaning for the person who needs a relationship with Jesus. The prophet Isaiah describes what a great blessing this opportunity is, saying:
“How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7).