FIRST-PERSON: Getting rid of fear of witnessing
FORT MYERS, Fla. (BP)--What is the biggest single reason people give for not sharing their faith? Out of all the conferences I've done over the many years, there's always one reason that comes up as the main reason for not sharing your faith, and that is the fear of rejection.
Let's take a look at that because it's probably one of the reasons you do not share your faith. First of all, it is Jesus that's getting rejected, Scripture that's getting rejected.
I know it feels like you and it feels like me but it's never you and it's never me being rejected. Let me make a point. Let's say you go out today and you try to share your faith with someone and they tell you to take a hike. Have you failed? Absolutely not; you've been obedient.
Likewise, let's say you go out and share your faith, and this becomes God's chosen replacement for Billy Graham. Can you take credit for it? Absolutely not: It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of our sin, calling us to repentance (John 16:8).
Sharing the Gospel is never about success or failure of the messenger. It is about obedience. Success is achieved by sharing your faith and by living your life out for Jesus Christ. It has nothing whatsoever to do with bringing anyone to the Lord.
I am not, you are not, and your pastor is not responsible to cause the conversion in anyone's life. Think about it. If you caused the conversion, the person remains unsaved. If they reject the message, they are not rejecting you, but are rejecting God (1 Samuel 8:7).
The other reason people give me for not sharing their faith is the fear of not knowing enough. That usually comes from a Christian who's been a believer for five, 10, 20 years or more ... and I tease them.
I say to them, "The problem is you know far too much. You're spiritually constipated and need to get rid of some of this information you've been hanging on to for so long." Remember: If the Gospel is simple enough for a child to understand it, it will be easy for an adult to share it.
As an example, just last week, a man that had been singing in the choir of the church for 50 years -- I kind of had a sense something wasn't right, and I asked him if he was born again. I got an evasive answer. And I said, "Please tell me, if you die, where are you going?" And he broke down with many tears, giving his heart and his life to Jesus Christ.
"HOW TO" SHARE YOUR FAITH
Remember, this is the one area of your life you cannot fail in.
Even if you share stupidly, unlovingly, tactlessly and with poor timing, God can use it (think "Jonah").
What He can't use is your silence.
Sharing the Gospel is as easy as talking. So how do you initiate a conversation?
I've learned to do it through a series of questions. For instance:
-- "Do you have any kind of spiritual belief?" I don't ask someone if they believe in God. But if you asked an open-ended question, the person may go on for ten seconds or two minutes.
-- The second question I like to ask is, "To you, who is Jesus?"
-- The next question I like to ask is, "Do you think there's heaven or hell?" They will oftentimes say "yes" or "no." It doesn't really matter what they say, because you're not going to respond.
-- The next question I ask someone is, "If you died right now, where are you going?" And they'll give you that response again. But again, I remind you that no matter what they say, you don't respond.
-- Now I ask the key question. "If what you believe is not true, would you want to know?" There are only two possible answers -- "yes" or "no." In the thousands of times I've asked these questions, not once, not ever, never have I had a "no" that stuck. Let me elaborate on that. I've asked "If what you believe isn't true, do you want to know?" And they go, "no."
You know what I do next?
Before long they'll ask, "Aren't you going to tell me?" I'll say, "You didn't want to know." They'll say, "Yes I do," and here we go again. Here's the key: If you try to coerce somebody into hearing about your faith, know that their defense is stronger than your ability to force them to hear. For me, no matter what response I get -- until they ask me to tell them -- all I ever say in return to their response to a question is "uh-huh," "uh-huh."
BE DOERS, NOT JUST HEARERS
Share the Gospel and watch God work.
Here's your challenge: I want you to test these questions by going to one person this week and say, "I've been given a little homework assignment. May I ask you five questions?" No matter what they say to answer these questions, you simply "uh-huh" and watch the Holy Spirit end up giving you permission to share your faith.
In fact, if you have found your Christian life to be just a little bit on the flat side, why not go ask someone you care about, "If you died today, would you go to Heaven?"
Remember, you cannot fail when you choose to be obedient.
I will be praying Paul's prayer that by sharing your faith you will gain "a full understanding of all the good things you have in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Philemon 6).
Now go ... and send an e-mail to let me know how it went.
Bill Fay is an evangelist and author of "Share Jesus without Fear." To contact him, visit www.sharejesuswithoutfear.com.