If you're a follower of Jesus, you have received the Great Commission. Jesus's instructions to go into all the earth and create disciples weren't just for the disciples or professional ministers; it applies to all of us.
But that doesn't mean that sharing your faith is easy. In LifeWay Research's recent "Discipleship Pathway Assessment" study, they found that 56 percent of respondents prayed for opportunities to evangelize, but 55 percent hadn't shared their faith with anyone in the last six months.
Even though we often feel comfortable talking to friends and loved ones about any number of topics—even volatile ones—sharing our faith can be a little scary. We've put together three tips to help you get over your fear of telling the people close to you about Jesus.
1. Remember: love is greater than fear
In his first Epistle, the apostle John tells us:
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18).
As John points out, fear has to do with punishment. In the case of sharing our faith, we have a fear of creating ill will, offending someone, or having them think less of us. But perfect love helps drive that fear away. Why? Because love always places someone else's needs above our own.
In this case, what greater gift could we offer others than to be reconciled with God? As long as we're sharing the gospel out of love for others, we won’t be as focused on how they're going to respond or what they're going to think of us.
2. Trust the Holy Spirit
There are a lot of Christians who would love to share their faith, but the fear that they're not prepared to answer every possible question makes them nervous. So they tell themselves they just need to do a little more studying before they can share the gospel. But there's always more to learn, and they never feel entirely ready to take that step.
When Jesus was warning His disciples about the trials they would experience, He told them, "When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say" (Luke 12:11–12).
Jesus was warning them about a time when they'd be on trial for their lives, and He was telling them to trust the Spirit—even in the most desperate situations. If we can trust the Holy Spirit when things are the direst, we can also trust the Spirit to guide our conversations as we share the good news with others.
3. Feel the fear and do it anyway
Paul tells the Corinthian church, "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong" (1 Corinthians 16:13). Fear is a requirement for bravery. Think for a moment about what it means to be courageous. Someone who is never afraid cannot boast about their courage. We demonstrate our bravery when we do something in spite of our fears.
Unfortunately, when we're nervous about sharing our faith, we look for reasons not to do it. We tell ourselves that we need to study more or wait for a more suitable opportunity. We're trying to convince ourselves that when we're "ready" and the moment is right, we won't be scared. But that kind of thinking almost guarantees that we never actually do it.
Think about it this way: It's easier for God to use your worst attempt at sharing the gospel than no attempt at all. When you step out in faith (which tends to include some fear of the unknown), God moves. The most amazing testimonies come from people who felt some measure of fear and pressed forward anyway.
Unless someone tells them
The apostle Paul made it his life's mission to share the gospel as widely as he could. He understood the need for believers to communicate the good news to others. In the Book of Romans, he explains it this way:
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them (Romans 10:14)?
To respond to the gospel, people need to hear the gospel. That's where we come in. It's time to take that step of faith and start speaking up. The more you take that step, the more effective you will become at communicating what Jesus has done for you!