Nobody likes a rude person, but often Christians leave such an impression when they share their testimony or faith. They talk down to a person in a judgmental way, trying to make them feel guilty or afraid of going to hell. In some cases, such an approach is absolutely relevant, but not in every case. We have to cultivate a sensitive ear to the Holy Spirit in how we should approach every person He puts on our path.
Sharing our faith with someone is not necessarily effortless. Most people face the same difficulties, fears and worries, stumbling over their words or misinterpreting an opportunity. So where does that leave you and me? Should we just give up because we experience resistance? The answer is no. So following are some helpful points, gleaned from those who often share their faith, that help them overcome obstacles.
1. A kind heart and word go a long way
Once a conversation has turned into an argument, the chances of winning someone’s heart significantly decrease. Trying to win an argument or trying to convince someone of your point of view will not bring you very far. When you share your faith, be sure you are respectful and kind towards the person you speak to. If you turn out to be a rude Christian, you may offend someone to ever listen to another person sharing about Christ. You will be surprised how many will listen if you treat them with respect.
2. Be real and honest
Do not put up a special tone of voice or suddenly become ‘super spiritual’. Be honest when you are asked a question that you do not know the correct answer to. Admit that you are on a journey and still learning yourself. Admit your weaknesses, but boldly share that you are confident in the love of Jesus covering you as you press onwards to see breakthroughs and victories. Do not be afraid that you will lose someone’s respect if you show vulnerability – honesty often gains another’s respect!
3. Have a normal conversation
You don’t need a formula, a method, or a programme to share your faith. You can ask the person a normal question, showing true interest in them as a person. Their response is often the connection point you will need to ask them a next question, that will eventually direct the conversation to share your faith. Share your faith by simply telling about a problem you had and how God helped you or has changed the course of your life since. Have honest, down-to-earth conversations and do not force yourself on anyone at any time.
4. Share from what you know
One of the reasons people are hesitant to share their faith is because they are uncertain of exactly what they believe and were never taught how to tell their story to another person! The church teaches many things, but almost nothing on ‘how to share your faith’. Many Believers do not know the Bible well enough, so they are not able to apply Scripture to other people’s situations, not even when engaging with fellow Believers! If this is true about you, take special effort to sharpen your personal understanding, knowledge and skill on how to speak to another person about the Lord Jesus.
5. Share the actual gospel
Sharing our faith does not mean we speak only about hell, morality, or the church, although these are very important topics. The message of the gospel is firstly about Jesus and how He came to save sinners. People are usually quite aware of their need for ‘help’. We do not have to hit them over the head with the Ten Commandments. Simply speak about what Jesus did on the Cross. The fact that Jesus suffered and died on the Cross is evidence enough that there is something wrong with the world. Start with Jesus, and you might be surprised with how many people will admit that they need someone who will save them.
6. Two ears and one mouth
There are a thousand things we can share with someone, but remember it is a conversation, not a speech or sermon. Focus to allow conversation, ask questions, listen and respond. Only share what the Holy Spirit prompts you to do or say. While listening, pray inwardly for the Holy Spirit to touch the heart of the person you are having a conversation with.
No one believes everything all at once, because no one can grasp it all at once. Many people have to hear the gospel several times before their ‘salvation’ moment comes. When you share your faith with someone and they immediately respond and decide to follow Christ, you are most privileged to share that joyful moment! Remember to give thanks to God for all the labourers who went before you. If you share your faith and there is no response yet, do not become discouraged. The Holy Spirit’s regenerating work of creating faith happens in an instant, but only God can see that.
8. Do not defend
Prepare yourself that people will need time to ask questions and to express doubts. You may only see them questioning, learning, doubting, but not yet believing. Never become discouraged – keep on trusting the Holy Spirit to show you how to answer their questions and to show them the love of the Father. Never see a question as an attack, but rather as an opportunity to respond with honesty.
Nobody is perfect. You too will make mistakes in efforts to share your faith. Do not fret about it. When you fail to show kindness, to speak honestly, to be authentic, to share the gospel message, to listen, or to display patience, admit your fault and ask for forgiveness. When you wake up tomorrow morning, ask the Holy Spirit again to show you a person with whom you can share your faith!
10. Scriptures to memorise
Following are a few Scriptures to memorise that may serve you well while sharing your faith. You cannot always carry a Bible with you – so make sure that you know some Scripture verses by heart.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:9-10
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Just be faithful
Most people have to hear the gospel more than once before their day of ‘salvation’ comes. Do not be discouraged when you don’t see immediate results. The sharing of your faith is a necessary link in that person’s journey to the day of their salvation.