Compassion for the lost – that is what fuels the fire of evangelism in my heart. There are so many people who are lost in the world. We see people all around us who don’t know Christ and appear to have their lives all together; yet they are filled with emptiness and have barren souls. We often categorize “the lost” as being the homeless, drug addicts, or people living in third world countries . . . and after all isn’t it the missionaries’ job to reach the lost? Not according to the Bible. Anyone who has received Jesus as his or her Savior is called to proclaim the good news of Christ.
Why then do we find it so difficult to share who Jesus is and what He has done in our lives with unbelievers? So many of us have adopted the misconception that evangelism means going door to door or presenting an unbelieving friend or family member with a prepared speech. We work up the courage, blurt the whole thing out, and hope they don’t ask any questions, and then think “whew, I’ve done my duty for the year.” No wonder so many non-Christians get scared when they see us coming!
The model for evangelism that Jesus showed to us was sharing through relationship. God will sometimes bring us spur of the moment opportunities to share our faith. However, more often than not those opportunities come through friends, coworkers, neighbors, or family who are lost. I think non-believers want to see that we are human too, not some super -disciple whose feet never touch the ground. We are sinners who make mistakes, but we have a Savior who has set us free from the bondage of sin and bridged the gap between God and us. When we share how Jesus has worked in our own lives and the relationship we have with Him, that can spark a lot more interest than a speech blurted out at record speed. In Luke 8:16 Jesus says, “Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lamp stand, in order that those who come in may see the light.” People should be able to see Jesus in our lives, the way we behave, what we say and do. God brings opportunities to share His Saving Grace as our lives bear witness to Christ in us.
“Why are you so happy all the time” or “How can you not be worried about this” are questions that open a door to share Christ with someone. John 15:5 says, “I am the Vine you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him shall bear much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.” Abiding in Christ is where evangelism begins. When we bear fruit our lives are a testimony to Christ’s power to change us. Although, our witnessing may only plant a seed that we don’t see grow into maturity; we can trust that God will use that seed to “woo” that person to Him.
I love how Rebecca Manley Pippert, in her book, “Out of the Salt Shaker and into the World,” sums this up: “If we are to be followers of Jesus, His values must permeate our values. We need to be concerned more with how our lives reflect His love, His holiness, His obedience, than with the latest witnessing techniques. When we live as Jesus did, in His power and with His presence, seekers will be drawn to us. Evangelism will not be a dreaded task to be ticked off every Wednesday. Rather, sharing Jesus will become a true delight and evangelism will become a lifestyle”.