Often I’ve heard people say their faith is personal, which I’ve learned means they aren’t going to tell anyone else about it. I’m thinking they have had some experiences similar to mine.
As a freshman in Bible College I was required to take a personal evangelism class. One assignment instructed each of us in the class to randomly hand out ten gospel tracts in a public place. I have to say, I didn’t enjoy it at all. My thinking was, If this is what it means to evangelize, then I’ll leave it up to those who have the gift of “evangelism.” I hated approaching strangers and pushing my track on them. It was awkward and I stumbled at what to say. Unfortunately, this assignment gave me an incorrect view of what evangelism is all about and was my excuse to not say much about my faith to others.
Through the years, God has gently been changing my heart and thinking concerning evangelism. Instead of dreading the very thought of it, thinking it’s something I have to force out of myself, I’ve discovered it is the core and foundation of who I am. Now, even if I try now not to say anything, it’s hard to stay quiet.
Ephesians 4:15 says, “Let our lives lovingly express truth [in all thing, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly].” It’s left me wondering now, How can Christians not talk about their faith? Honestly, if I had to censor faith out of my conversation, I’d have nothing to talk about with anyone.
The other day at the dentist office, I was heavily numbed up and waiting for a new cap to be placed on my tooth when the computer screen the dentist needed to use wouldn’t work. Even with my mouth impaired, when I heard him say because of the malfunction I might not get my cap, I chirped up and said, “I’ll pray!”
None of the staff responded, but it didn’t stop me. I was determined the shot of Novocain causing my lip and cheek to feel ten times bigger would not be in vain. In a matter of minutes, the screen came on.
In everyday situations, including the dental chair, my personal faith comes out because that’s what it’s meant to do. I’ve learned God has given me the choice in opportunities to let it out of my mouth, or push it back down and keep silent.
I’ve also learned it’s OK if I don’t memorize and use one of the various methods designed by different groups to share the gospel. (Although I do appreciate their efforts and the ways God works through these outreaches.)
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 encourages me that sometimes I might be the one who is planting seeds of the gospel in someone else’s life. At other times, I may be watering what someone else has planted in a life. Either way, I’m assured it’s always God who causes it to grow in their lives, which frees me from thinking it’s all up to me!
Verse 3:8 tells me even more, “The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.” This illustration of evangelism as planting and watering helps me to see God’s daily opportunities in my life, as part of a greater work on earth—the purpose of reconciling men and women to Himself.
God’s creative and He has a way of getting the gospel out through me, even at times when I’m not fully aware of what’s happening. And I’ve discovered I love evangelism because it’s the heart of God to lead people to Himself. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
Here’s a few ways to enjoy everyday evangelism:
- If a situation comes up, like at the dentist office, don’t be afraid to be who God’s created you to be.
- When a cashier at the store, another customer, or server at a restaurant seem to be having a bad day, offer some encouragement and don’t be afraid to say a prayer if led.
- Don’t censor yourself when people ask, “How did you make it through a situation?” or “How did you cope?” Be honest about God’s help in your life. They may be looking for hope in their own situation.
- If you want to pray at a restaurant before a meal, don’t feel like you have to do it silently. Also, don’t unnecessarily call attention to your prayer, just to make a point. Let your light shine and don’t be ashamed of the gospel.
- Live your faith honestly before your family, neighbors, and co-workers. Don’t let what’s considered politically-correct be your guide.
- Don’t let your faith be hampered in daily situations. Give God the freedom to speak through you to soften someone’s heart for Him.
Every day offers opportunities for evangelism. Like me, you too can learn to embrace them!