No life is too bad to be redeemed or too boring to make a difference.
Never underestimate the power of words.
After class one day in my sophomore year of college, my roommate walked in and said, “Dude, I met your wife.” I had no idea who she was. We’ve now been married almost a decade. Still might have happened had he said nothing, but who knows.
What we say to one another matters, which explains why the Bible makes such a big deal about our words. (See, for example, Matthew 12:36-37 or James 3:7-10.) It’s also why the Bible so strongly highlights talking to others about Jesus. Paul, for instance, points out in Romans 10:12-15 that people can’t believe the gospel until they hear someone explain it. And the stories of Philip with the Ethiopian Eunuch and Peter with Cornelius testify to the importance of actually telling others the good news about Jesus.
Of course, our actions matter a great deal. Our words about Jesus mean nothing unless they build on our lives. But if a common problem is words without deeds, the answer is not deeds without words. The answer is actions and words together.
Let’s say you agree. Let’s assume we both commit to sharing the gospel. Now what? How can we actually do it? There’s no one perfect method, but here are some practical suggestions:
- Tell the story of what God has done in your life through Christ. If you need help, here’s an easy three-point outline: (1) Who I was before I met Jesus. (2) How I met Jesus. (3) Who I am now because of Jesus. If you were raised in the church, just slightly adjust the first two: (1) Who I’d be without Jesus. (2) Why I made this faith my own. (3) Who I am now because of Jesus. No life is too bad to be redeemed or too boring to make a difference. Never underestimate what God can do with your story.
- Tell the story of Jesus. Philip explained from Isaiah 53 how Jesus died for our sins. Peter narrated the events of Jesus’ life in a way his hearers would understand. Sometimes we, too, should explain the whole gospel story. More often, as you’re talking to friends or loved ones, you might think of a particular story from the Gospels that fits the moment. If you’re speaking to someone broken over his or her sin, maybe you tell about how Jesus didn’t condemn a woman caught in adultery but gently called her to a better way (John 7:53-8:11). If you have an academic friend who considers Jesus an intellectual lightweight, you might point to one of the many times Jesus stumped his opponents in debate (for example, Matthew 22:15-46). If you know someone overwhelmed by conflicts on the outside and fears within, you could share about Jesus walking on water or calming the storm (Matthew 14:22-36; Mark 4:35-31).
“Evangelism” isn’t quantum physics, and it’s not a sales pitch where you shoulder pressure to close the deal. You don’t have to be a genius, an extrovert, or an entrepreneur. You are merely a witness. You are, as the old saying goes, one blind beggar telling other blind beggars where you found bread.
The world is dying to hear the message we have been given – and we’ve been given it precisely to enjoy and then share with others. Don’t hinder what God wants to do in the lives of your family and friends by saying nothing. Speak clearly. Speak kindly. Speak Jesus.