Years ago, when Jesus found me and saved me, he also set me free. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t happen in the blink of an eye. It was a process. First, addiction fell away. Then anger, unforgiveness, and frustration left me. Eventually, the Lord removed both the big and little chains that had been holding me down, but I soon realized there was one heavy, rusty chain remaining. I wasn’t willing to cast off the shackle, because if I did, I would have no excuses. That shackle was my fear of spreading the gospel.
Ironically, in our modern-day culture of “tolerance”, Christians often feel as though sharing our faith with non-believers will run the risk of offending them, or worse, the H.R. Department at the job we depend on. We keep our love of Jesus to ourselves. We preach to other believers and pray for other Christians who we’re certain want prayer. Does that sound like what our Lord and Savior commands us to do?
I’ve got encouragement for you, Christian. You can spread the gospel in your everyday life. Here are 3 ways to do it, and 1 way that is never going to work for you.
Do you think that your skills, talents, and passions are an accident? They’re not. God gave those to you and he did it for a reason. Likewise, your speech, cadence, perspective, wardrobe—the way you present yourself to the world in both word and deed—are no accident either. You are meant to represent Jesus and even more mind-blowingly, God has designed you with intention and he has planted you exactly where you are for a reason.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ~Ephesians 2:10
Hey, Christian jogger! Yes, you! Hey, Christian tech mogul! Hey, Christian housewife! Hey, Jesus-loving skateboarder! Hey, saved fashion model! Look around! See all those non-believers in your day-to-day life? Do you think you’re standing where you are among them on accident? Do you think that God has placed you amidst people with hearts that aren’t crying out for the Lord? Wrong!
The Lord has planted each of us here and there among non-believers for a reason, so that those people will see us, get to know us, and trust us when—at the prompting of the Holy Spirit—we share our testimony with them about what Jesus has done for us.
PRAY FOR OTHERS
My friend Lucy is a stay-at-home mother, a Christian, and a devoted wife—not necessarily in that order! She attends a Bible study on Thursday nights, a prayer circle on Friday afternoons, and never misses a Sunday service with the whole family. She’s grateful daily, but one thing nags at her. She knows she isn’t spreading the gospel. Why? Because she has surrounded herself with Christians who have already received the good news. “I feel a calling to pray for people,” she once told me. “But I’m isolated. I take care of the kids all day long. I don’t have time.”
Then, one day it hit her—the Holy Spirit has a way of doing that! She realized she isn’t really isolated, because she runs errands. She goes to the post office, the grocery store, and the playground almost every single day. She’s out there. So, she prayed to the Lord that he would put in her path those who need prayer.
Not long after that, while she was tapping her knuckle against a cantaloupe in the produce section, she felt a pull on her heart, looked up, and saw an elderly man limping along with his shopping cart. “Huh,” thought Lucy. He needs you to pray for him. “I must be going crazy,” Lucy murmured to herself. No, you aren’t. Pray for him. Lucy’s heart had never been so loud.
Approaching the elderly man, she said that she would like to pray for him. No introduction. No preamble. No explanations. “Hello, I noticed you’re having difficulty walking and I’d like to pray for you.”
What Lucy did that day didn’t miraculously heal the man’s gait. But it did heal his heart. He needed that prayer. He broke down right there in front of the avocados, because Lucy finally got out of the way and allowed God to reach someone through her.
You, too, can glorify God by letting his Holy Spirit work through you to touch other people. Step one: get out of your own way! Step two: let Jesus do his thing! Step three: don’t be surprised when the other person asks question after question and the answers that tumble out of you are the gospel of Jesus Christ.
GO TO THE SINNERS
Sometimes Christians forget that the darkness will flee from the light. Hey, Christian, you are the light! Why are you fleeing from darkness? Think about it. After we’re saved, we avoid sin, and rightfully so, but at the same time, we also tend to avoid sinners. Does that sound like what Jesus commissioned us to do as believers?
We have been filled with the strength of God’s Holy Spirit and it wasn’t so that we can cling to other Christians and dodge the darkness. We are equipped to walk boldly through the dark, and guess what? When we do, the darkness vanishes. It’s washed away. Ever turn on a lightbulb at night? What follows isn’t exactly a battle. Darkness cannot exist in the presence of light. That’s how light works and that’s how you work, too.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ~Jeremiah 29:11
I have another friend named Mike and he’s very different from Lucy. Mike is covered in tattoos and piercings. There are scars up and down his inner arms, the evidence of heavy drug use from his past. Mike has owned and operated a tattoo parlor his entire adult life. He likes the life, the lifestyle, the vibe of the culture. Then Mike became a Christian, and when he was first saved, he went through a rocky period of trying to figure out what kind of ministry he should go into. Should he serve the Lord by ministering to recovering addicts? Or perhaps become a youth pastor in an effort to get kids hooked on Jesus before they could get hooked on drugs? Mike’s error was that he assumed he would need to walk away from his tattoo parlor in order to serve the Lord. His heart was in the right place, but his logic was faulty. Yes, his customers were still living the “sinner’s life” that Mike himself had been freed from thanks to Christ, but that didn’t mean that God wanted Mike to uproot.
The Holy Spirit intervened—thank God! And Mike stayed put at his parlor. He became the light and when the darkness entered his shop, it didn’t remain. It was blasted off of one customer then the next every time Mike shared that no he doesn’t drink anymore. No, he doesn’t drug anymore. When his customers asked him why, he shared his testimony and the gospel followed. Maybe not all in the same conversation. And not all conversations took root in the heart of the customer. But Mike stood his ground. He planted himself where the sinners were. And God was able to work through Mike because of it.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes." ~Romans 1:16
A FINAL WORD
We live in challenging times. God has been stripped out of our courtrooms, removed from our schools, and forbidden in our places of work. In the era of tolerance, there is a pervasive intolerance of God. But I will not allow a cultural “norm” to shut me up. I will not allow it to intimidate me—to marginalize me—into boxed-in areas where God is accepted only because he’s been pushed out of the general public’s view.
You cannot put the Almighty in a box and you cannot push him out of view. The way to spread the gospel in this day in age has nothing to do with shuffling off to a seminary once you’re saved, or worse, worshipping quietly where no one can hear you and therefore no one can become offended by your outspoken love of the Lord.
Don’t walk away from your life! Don’t separate the Lord from the everyday, and don’t box him into two hours on Sunday mornings! Be who you are, Christian, and represent Jesus in all that you do. Throw off the chains of fear that have been holding you back from spreading the good news! You can start small, but start, and remember, doing so is what God has designed you for.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” ~1 Peter 3:15