Principle #4: Be prepared.
From grade school to Bible college, I always feared test day. But I discovered a secret. After graduating from seminary, I went to university and got a job as an all-night security guard. The job's long, boring hours gave me the opportunity to study more than ever—sometimes four to five hours a night. Soon I came to realize I did not dread tests anymore. I actually looked forward to them—because I was ready for them!
Preparation puts confidence where there used to be fear and insecurity. That's why 1 Peter 3:15 says that we should be ready to give everyone an answer for the hope that we have. Don't wait until the middle of a conversation with an unbeliever to start thinking about what to say.
In the ancient world, warriors had to be ready for surprise attacks. An unprepared soldier was a dead soldier. If a soldier lounged around in bare feet, it meant he did not expect an attack. But wearing his military shoes signified readiness. Paul had this in mind when he said, "Stand ... having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace" (Eph. 6:14-15, emphasis mine).
Smith Wigglesworth used to say, "I don't get ready; I stay ready." Whether we are at a gospel crusade or grocery store, we must live with our "gospel boots" on!
I'm amazed by how few Christians can quote a few basic evangelistic Scriptures on command. Perhaps this is a major reason so few share their faith—they're not ready! Part of wearing "gospel boots" means being able to represent the gospel message faithfully when needed. (To help with this, see "The ABCs of the Gospel" for a few Scriptures every Christian should know by heart.)
If we are prepared to share the gospel, the Holy Spirit will use us. Imagine losing power in your house and it becomes dark. You go down to the basement and find two lanterns—one has kerosene and the other doesn't. Which would you use? The lantern that's ready, of course! We don't have to beg God to use us. If we are ready, God will use us automatically!
5 Tips for Sharing Your Faith
Even if you've overcome your fears and are ready to be used by the Holy Spirit, still there are ways we can all grow when it comes to being messengers of the gospel. So here are five tips to prepare you more to share your faith.
1) Be aware of those around you. I love it when the Holy Spirit gives me a word of knowledge about someone's need. It is a powerful tool and great "ice breaker." (If you've never experienced this, ask the Holy Spirit.) However, the truth is that we don't always need a word of knowledge to discern someone's need. Most of the time we are just too busy or self-absorbed to notice the obvious needs all around us.
If we will make a conscious decision to be mindful of the people around us, we will find many opportunities to share "a word in due season" to pray with people and to lead them to Christ. The more we practice, the more sensitive we will become, and we may even discover that the Holy Spirit has been leading us more than we ever realized.
2) Be willing to initiate. Most churches use a model of soul winning I call "spider web evangelism." They build beautiful buildings and offer lots of programs, then wait for unbelievers to come to them.
But that isn't what Jesus taught. Jesus said, "Go ... and preach the gospel" (Mark 16:15) and, "I will make you fishers of men" (Matt. 4:19). This is proactive language. To be effective soul winners we must be willing to take the initiative and engage those around us.
It's actually easier than you may think. Smile. Say hello. Ask questions and then listen. I've been persecuted many times for sharing my faith, but never once for being friendly and initiating a conversation.
3) Use your testimony. We often don't feel equipped to handle objections to the gospel—and for many of us, that's what prevents us from sharing. But the truth is, there will always be someone who knows more than us about science, history, philosophy or even religion. There's no need to worry. Someone once said, "The person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument."
There is one thing no one can take away from you: your testimony. And, amazingly, everyone has one!
If you are a child of God, then He has changed your life. You have something to say! Your testimony is unique to you. Even if you think your story isn't that interesting, it glorifies God and contains His power. And if the gospel has touched you, then know that it will touch others through you.
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