How to Share Your Faith Boldly and in Love to those Closest to You
[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]E[/mk_dropcaps]ven though I grew up in a Christian home and went to church most my life, sharing Jesus with others was beyond intimidating. It felt as as awkward as trying to sell pies to my neighbors so I could go to church camp. I never knew the words to say, would fumble over scripture, and end up not having much to say after all. I thought that in order to tell people about Jesus, I had to know all the facts. My belief was that if I knew enough details in the Bible and knew how to debate then I could lead anyone to Jesus. The reality is that I will never be able to know all the facts in the Bible. Regardless of how much I know, someone will always know more than me. Besides that, having a relationship with Christ is a faith journey and all the “proof” in the Bible can not convince a person to have faith. I was taught a few years ago that "facts tell and stories sell." I think it can be the same with sharing our faith. I can try as hard as I want to know all the details in the Bible waiting for the time when I understand it all well enough to share it. Or, what I can do is share my story of hope with someone I love. Here is what that looks like:
I once was lost and was living my life with little to no purpose.
I was depressed.
I was severely anorexic.
I drank too much.
Partied too much and felt awful about who I was.
I was in a dark place and couldn't see any light up ahead.
And then... someone told me how God had changed their life and invited me to church. From there, I slowly began to see the light again and I witness God's grace change me from the inside out.
I went from nothing to something.
Rejected to accepted.
Feeling unloved to feeling completely loved by my Heavenly Father.
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]Pray[/mk_blockquote]
Someone once told me, “people can reject your words but they cannot reject your prayers”. My best friend used to be an atheist. It broke my heart because she had no source of hope. At that time, I began serving God again and was involved in a church. I invited her and was rejected right there on the spot. She said, “No way will I go to church…. it’s not for me.” I was a little taken back by her comment but continued to be her friend and love her where she was at. I prayed and prayed for her. Months later, she came to me and said, “I want to go to church with you.” I tried to play it cool but was jumping up and down inside. There are things that only God can do in our loved ones. I had tried to explain to her why she should come to church with me but I believe is was the prayers that lead her to her salvation. I found out later her family had also been praying for her. Never negate the power of prayer.
Acts 26:18 gives a beautiful template for how we can pray for our loved ones.
Open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]Know Your Story[/mk_blockquote]
One of the major keys to sharing your faith with the ones you love is know your story of hope. The truth is that no one can argue with your story because… it’s your story. If you have given your life to Jesus, you have a story of hope. It is worth telling to others. You might have a similar story to mine or something very different but either way you have a story. My prayer is that we would all be brave enough to speak up about what God has done in our lives. We are surrounded by people searching for hope and the truth. We can be the voice of hope that makes all the difference.
I love how The Message version of 1 Peter 2:9-10 explains how we can simply share our faith.
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]Speak Up[/mk_blockquote]
There has been an evangelistic catch phrase that has become popular over the years. It has been attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, and goes like this, “Go into the world and preach the gospel and if necessary use words.” While our actions can speak volumes, our words have the power of life and death. That means that as we share our story of hope and all that Christ has done in our lives we are pouring life into our loved ones.
Romans 10:13-15 is a clear example that our words are important and can be difference between life and death in those around us.
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
The Good News is that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. This verse demonstrates that God is not biased towards only some people who have met quotas throughout their lives. He simply says, “Everyone who calls on My Name will be saved.” The next portion of this verse explains how God has given us the responsibility to share the Good News. As believers, we cannot wait around for someone else to speak up. God has placed us in our families, jobs, friendships, and communities for a specific purpose. That purpose is to share His hope.
I want to challenge you today that if there is someone in your world that you know is far from Christ, begin to pray for them. Know your story of hope so you can confidently share it. Then begin to speak up - don’t delay - make it a priority.
It’s important to remember that everyone is on a journey. If you take a step to share your faith with someone and they remain the same or hesitant continue loving them just the same. This can be so challenging because we want other people to know the saving grace that is available and the freedom that comes with salvation. At the end of the day, someones decision to accept or reject Christ is their own choice. We are called to love others regardless of their choices - we might be the only one rooting for a particular person to know Christ. So take heart, and don’t give up.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
Much Love - Kristen Stansell