Helping those in our sphere of influence to know Jesus takes time and persistence, but with the Lord’s help and guidance, it can become a lifestyle. But before it can become a lifestyle, it is important to take simple steps to help us be ready to share our faith with anyone God places in our path.
As we get ready to take the steps necessary to share our faith, we have to understand Jesus is the expert and anything we do for Him is by Him and for Him.
As Jesus said in John 15:5: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (NLT)
What does that mean? It essentially translates fruitfulness (effectiveness in anything we do for the Lord) depends upon connectedness (closeness to the Lord). With that in mind, let me offer some suggestions as to how to help others come to know Jesus in a personal and powerful way.
Become the Good News.
First, before we can share “Good News,” we have to BE good news! What does that mean?
1. Understand your motives for sharing your faith.
To me, it speaks to our motivation. Why do we want our loved ones and friends to come to Christ? And even as I ask that odd question, it seems counterintuitive, but for the sake of those we’re seeking to reach, it must be asked.
What’s my investment? Behind my desire to share my faith, is there any hint that it’s for my own personal edification? In order that I might feel better about myself (i.e., so others can recognize how “spiritual” I am)? Or is it so they can stay out of hell or go to heaven?
In my understanding of Scripture, if our only motivation for winning people to Jesus is selfish or to keep them out of hell, we’ve missed the point of the Cross.
2. Fully surrender to God in your own life.
Jesus said in John 10:10: “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (NLT)
“Rich and satisfying” essentially means full or complete, in short, a life that’s continually seeking to become more and more like Jesus (see Romans 8:29). Nothing this world offers can compare to closeness to Jesus.
To be effective (fruitful) in influencing others to commit their lives to Jesus, our lives must be fully surrendered to Him, thus enabling us to become a channel through which the Good News can flow.
3. Speak with sensitivity and awareness.
Years ago, I was developing a relationship with a young man who came to my house regularly for pest control. We were standing in my driveway talking, and for the first time, he was beginning to open up to me about why he had no interest in Christ or attending church.
As we were talking, another young man I’d recently met joined the conversation. In an effort to impress me with his “spiritual maturity,” the second man began to ask my friend questions like: “Do you know you’re lost without Jesus? You need to repent and give your life to Christ right now before it’s eternally too late.”
On and on he went until my friend whom I’d nurtured for months to lay the groundwork for a meaningful relationship, suddenly turned away and left. I never saw him again, and he wouldn’t return my calls.
Was the man who was “witnessing” to my friend “wrong”? In that context, yes, he was. While his words were “right,” his sensitivity to the Lord was absent, and rather than drawing my friend to Christ, he pushed him further away.
The Good News became bad news for my friend because it was given without apparent regard to my friend’s needs and from selfish motives.
I’m convinced that’s why a lot of people today are reluctant to come to church or have a meaningful conversation about who Jesus is and what He’s done for them. They’ve been badgered and beaten down by well-meaning people who are too often insensitive to the Lord and to the people with whom they’re speaking. In other words, they’re not Good News.
4. Live what we speak.
Jesus was always sensitive to the needs of the persons with whom He spoke, and His speaking was always motivated by a heart of love. The more we grow in our likeness of Jesus, the more effective we will be in winning our friends and loved ones to Jesus. The more they are able to see Jesus in us, not only in the way we speak, but in the way we live, the more open they will be to allow Jesus to speak to them through us.
Our motivation in sharing our faith must always be to honor and bless Jesus, and our goal must be to help those with whom we share find a full and complete life in Jesus, not simply miss hell or gain heaven. Please understand. I long for heaven, but my longing centers on one thing—Jesus! Jesus is the Treasure I seek on earth and the Treasure I’ll find in heaven.
I’m convinced that to the extent those with whom the Lord has laid on our hearts to speak can sense a genuine love and concern for them and for Jesus, to that extent they’ll open their hearts to us and be willing to listen. Prayer is foundational in allowing that to happen.
5. Pray for others.
Dick Eastman said, “Behind the saving grace of every believer is someone praying.”
Sharing our story, our spiritual journey, our faith, however you want to think of it, must begin with prayer if our goal is to lead someone closer to the Lord. Prayer prepares our heart and mind to speak and prepares the heart and mind of the one with whom we share to hear what God is seeking to say to them.
Never underestimate the way the Lord is working in you and in the one with whom He lays on your heart to speak. In my more than fifty-six years of walking with Jesus, I have never led a single soul to saving faith in Jesus, I’ve simply been a vessel through whom the Lord has been faithful to do His saving work.
He’ll work in you to the extent you’re willing to ask Him (prayer) and then are willing to get out of His way and allow Him to work through you to His honor and fame (faith).
6. Connect with God in your daily life.
The first and best way to help others know Jesus is to continually seek to know Him intimately yourself. Then, you can allow the Holy Spirit free access to fill and empower you in any way He sees fit to reach others to Christ’s glory and honor. He will give you insight and understanding as to whom He desires you to speak and guidance as to what to say. That process begins on the day you invite Jesus to be Lord and continues until the day you close your eyes in death.
Every one of us who are Christ-followers, whether we’ve just begun our walk or we’ve walked with Him for many years, can share our faith effectively to the extent we submit to the Spirit and simply ask Him to speak through us.
We all have a lot of questions about how to navigate life and faith in this world. Sharing our faith is just one part of our journey as a Christ-follower. Join us for our “One Question” series where we will tackle questions about pain and suffering, heaven, and disappointment.