When we're sharing our faith with friends, family, and the people around us, we tend to get caught up in having the best argument and responding well to their questions. And while it's essential that you’re able to communicate what you believe and why you believe it, there are some other things you want to remember as you seek to influence your loved ones.
1. Do I sound like Jesus?
The love passage of 1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most well-known New Testament passages. It's used in weddings and finds its way onto artwork and wall hangings. It opens with such an important reminder about how we communicate:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1).
Profound and moving arguments aren't enough. We need to communicate the gospel in a way that feels like good news—and we do that be communicating with love and compassion for others.
It's helpful to remember how Jesus responded to the pressing needs of others:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36).
When we're able to see the world through Jesus's eyes, it's easier to share with them in an empathetic and caring fashion instead of seeing our interaction as a battle to be won.
2. Does my behavior represent Jesus?
When people find out you're a Christian, they start paying attention to your choices. They're looking for consistency. They want to know if the beliefs you profess are on display in your behavior.
This is why Jesus says, "... let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). When people see consistent goodness in your life, it gets attributed to God's influence.
This doesn't mean you need to be perfect. But when you make mistakes, own them. Apologize and demonstrate a sincere desire to grow and be transformed into someone who behaves like Jesus. This will have a big impact on their willingness to hear the gospel.
3. Am I responding to needs like Jesus?
All the gospel writers tell us how Jesus would go from town to town, casting out demons and healing diseases. These sessions would last deep into the night. It's hard to find a need that Jesus ignored or didn't respond to—and this drew people to Him.
The apostle John reminds us, "Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth" (1 John 3:18). It's so much more than what we say. We display love in how we respond to the world around us. When people see our love in action, they’re more likely to respond to the love in the gospel.
4. Am I praying like Jesus?
Jesus prayed all the time. Sometimes He would withdraw to a secluded place to spend entire nights in prayer. Luke even tells us that Jesus would often look for opportunities to just get away and pray (Luke 5:16). If Jesus saw the need to maintain that kind of connection to God, how much more important is it for us?
If we genuinely want to be effective in sharing our faith, we will be praying. We'll pray for our loved ones, and we'll also ask God to send us others we can share with. We'll ask God to give us the understanding and words we need, and we'll plead with Him to move throughout our cities.
More than words
No one can come to Jesus unless they hear the gospel message. That’s why Paul tells us, "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ" (Romans 10:17). There's no way around it; we need to tell people about Jesus.
But other elements impact how powerful those words are. The more our lives demonstrate the qualities of Jesus, the more people around us will respond to the good news. We need to keep this in mind as we carry out the Great Commission. For more about sharing your faith, check out My Old School Way of Sharing the Gospel.
All Scripture references quote the New International Version.