You know that moment when you are sitting next to someone on a bench or having a conversation with a friend, and suddenly you realize you have the opportunity to share Christ with that person… and your mind goes blank?
That moment is the worst.
And I’ve had more of them than I can count — that time I couldn’t bring myself to start a conversation with that woman on the bus, or the time I didn’t answer a friend’s question about God’s forgiveness because I didn’t want to get in trouble for talking, or the time I signed up to witness on campus with my college group but was so nervous that I let my partner do most of the talking…
I think we all get sweaty palms at the thought of reaching out to talk to people about deep heart issues like faith, sin, salvation, and eternity. We worry that if we don’t say the right thing, we’ll ruin everything. Or worse, that in this country full of angry rabble-rousers, we’ll come across as judgmental and unloving.
I’m telling you, I’ve been there before.
But we can’t let awkwardness get in the way of pointing people to Christ —He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Doesn’t that trump any discomfort that we might feel? Following God to lead people from spiritual death into abundant life?
It’s definitely still hard because we’re still very human, but it is amazing what God will do when we are willing to follow Him.
And we aren’t left entirely to our own devices. Here are 5 truths from God’s Word that show us what sharing His love with others should look like.
1.We should be drenching our efforts in prayer.
When we go to have spiritual conversations with a stranger or even a close friend, we want to be tuned in to God’s wisdom and His love for that person. We know that God knows exactly what they are going through and what they need to know — Psalm 139 says, “You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.”
That’s a lot more than can be said of us! And God promises in James 1:5 that He will give us the wisdom we need in the situation we need it. It says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
2. We need to listen more than speak.
Doesn’t that take the pressure off? So often we are tempted to just dive in with our prepared speech when what we need to be doing is taking the time to listen to the other person’s thoughts, questions, concerns, and story.
Jesus did this all the time. In John 4, as He talked to the woman at the well, He took the time to hear and answer her questions, and then to ask her about her life. The conversation wasn’t a generic speech — it was lovingly tailored to her needs.
Ask the person about their questions, struggles, or beliefs. Ask things like:
- What is a real joy in your life right now?
- What is something you believe strongly in?
- What do you depend on to get you through hard times?
- What do you want most for your life?
Before you know it, you’ll be hearing their story, telling your story, and sharing the truths of Christ in a truthful, natural, conversational way.
3. Use the Bible.
As important as it is to share your own heart, there is nothing more powerful than sharing God’s own Word. In Isaiah 55:11, God promises, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” God uses His inspired Word to touch people’s hearts in ways our own words never will. So memorize some verses, or at least where to find them, and share them with others.
4. Continue to care about the person.
Whether they make a decision for Christ or not, treat them as the person designed by God that they are. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers of reaching out for Christ – seeing one more person saved – but the Bible says that the angels rejoice over each individual person for their own sake (Luke 15:10).
This also means that, if at all possible, we don’t just leave them once the conversation is finished. Continue to pour into them, continue to love them, continue to care about every aspect of their life. 1 Corinthians 13:1 says, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal,” and that is certainly true of witnessing.
5. Share our time with people.
Really, in the end, it’s so simple — We just need to love people around us so much that we are willing to sacrifice our time and our comfort to give them the redeeming message that they desperately need to hear. If we let ourselves be consumed with this Christ-centered, Christ-honoring love, all of our other fears and concerns will seem to fall away.
God has called you to a truly amazing work and He has promised to walk with you through it. So, as Jesus said: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15)!
Meredith is the wife of an amazing husband, a lover of travel and baking, and a servant of the King of Kings. She writes at Life Along the Way, a project created with her husband as a place to share the ups and downs of their lives following Christ and to explore what it means to live a life truly based on the Bible. Connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter!