Earlier this week I heard the incredible testimony of a man who goes to Afghanistan preaching and demonstrating the Gospel of Jesus. He was arrested and detained twice by the police and Afghan army on a recent trip as it is against the law to proselytize (attempt to win someone away from Islam to another faith). He did this alongside Afghan followers of Christ who were amazed by his boldness and the way God backed him in this effort.
The Afghans were inspired to change the way they shared their faith as they saw more people open up to Jesus and ask him into their hearts in a week than they had seen in their entire lives.
Recently a friend approached me who’s brother in law had barely survived a massive heart attack. She was certain her brother in law was not a believer and she was concerned for his eternal wellbeing. She asked me how to share the Gospel with him as she had never done that before. I could tell she was feeling unprepared and apprehensive, thinking it would be awkward and risky. That is probably the most common reason most believers shrink back from sharing their faith with others as well.
This caused me to once again take account of my own actions or better said, inactions! If an American can be bold enough, while clearly led by God, to preach the Gospel in one of the most dangerous and hostile places in the world, what’s stopping me from doing that in my own community in the U.S? What causes me to keep to myself what is the most important aspect in my own life, a life changing relationship with God? The possibility of a real friendship with the God of the Universe and inheriting eternal life is available to every single human being. However, almost all come to faith only when someone has a conversation with them about this opportunity. There are a few who come to faith on their own without someone else’s involvement but they are a very small percentage; however, for the vast majority they have no chance unless someone is bold enough to speak to them.
Through the conversation with my friend, I realized it seems harder to do that with someone close to you than it is with a total stranger. I coached her to take a little while, think about her own faith to be sure what she believes herself, then kindly and lovingly have a conversation with her brother in law speaking from the bottom of her heart. Honesty and transparency, even acknowledging that it may be awkward, is almost always returned with openness to hear what one has to say. She later told me she had the conversation with him and he simply listened and didn’t appear to do anything outwardly. A seed was planted in his heart and I encouraged her to continue watering that seed by having more conversations with him and to be praying for the Holy Spirit to continue softening his heart.
There are more people in America who have never heard the Gospel than in previous generations. Bible illiteracy is higher than ever before as fewer people regularly attend church. That’s why most people have deep spiritual and emotional needs but they have no understanding about where to go and get help. Many of those that have some idea about God have a distorted view of God and the Church which they have received from film or media and for that reason they are resistant. Most are interested when we push through our own fears and share with them that there is a loving Heavenly Father who has been waiting for them to come to Him for all of their lives.
A friend of mine says there is an imaginary “chicken line” that stops us from being bold in sharing the Gospel with others. We resist stepping over that line because we are too “chicken” to open our mouths and share with others. That fear is based on thinking we will be rejected or awkward when we do it. I have found time and time again when I put away my fears and speak that it almost always goes much better and easier than I feared and many lives are eternally changed in the process. Let’s all decide to stop over the “chicken line”, take the risk of being misunderstood or rejected but give others the opportunity to experience forgiveness, healing, freedom, abundant and eternal life. It’s a matter of life or death!