Principle #2: Trust that the Holy Spirit is working with you.
As much as you want to see people saved, Jesus wants it more. The Holy Spirit is highly invested in evangelism. He lingers at the foot of the cross. He cooperates with soul winners because they do what is closest to God's heart. Cultivate a deep conviction that when you share the gospel, the Holy Spirit—God Himself—works with you! That will make you fearless. After all, if God is for you, who can be against you (Rom. 8:31)?
To walk with this assurance requires something called faith. Just as we are saved by faith, as followers of Jesus we live by faith. Is it any surprise that we must also evangelize "by faith?"
- By faith we trust that the Holy Spirit has gone before us and prepared the hearts of those we encounter.
- By faith we choose to view the encounters we have in our everyday lives as "divine appointments."
- By faith we trust that the Holy Spirit will give us the right words at the right moment as we share the gospel.
- By faith we trust that the Holy Spirit will take those words and continue to use them in that person's heart long after we've parted ways.
Keep in mind, however, that every action of faith includes an element of risk. That will never change.
So why would we risk our well-being and comfort for someone else? We find the answer in our next principle.
Principle #3: Love trumps fear.
Fear is an emotion everyone feels, but love is infinitely more powerful than fear. Love compels us to take risks. Love acts like an anesthetic, numbing us to fear so it won't govern our actions. As 1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear."
At one of our Schools of Evangelism, a young man asked me an honest but painful question during a question-and-answer session: "I have been preaching on the streets for more than 20 years but have never led anyone to Christ. What must I add to my message to get results?"
The answer was immediately obvious to me. I simply responded, "Love." And that answer applies to more than a frustrated street preacher; it applies to all of us.
According to 1 Corinthians 13:1, a message without love turns us into "clanging cymbals." How utterly annoying and unappealing!
I've encountered many people who view the lost as "targets," or a convert as a "notch in the belt." (I've even been guilty of this myself). Winning the lost is all about "winning" for them. Because of this, they think they must be a better debater or more clever and witty than their target.
But that's not how it works.
"Winning" the lost often means being willing to look like a "loser." It requires vulnerability. It means being willing to be embarrassed and even accepting persecution. What compels us to subject ourselves to such exposure? Love—seeing the lost the way Jesus sees them.
Love is not selfish (1 Cor. 13:5). That means to love others is to put them before ourselves. If fear of rejection keeps us from sharing the gospel, it means we love ourselves more than we love the lost. Love risks the loss of comfort, convenience and security for the gospel's sake (Mark 8:35).
I believe love is the most crucial part of evangelism. If we want to become more effective as sharing the Good News, we must ask God for a baptism of love. Evangelism will become as easy as breathing!
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