2000-11-01 - Personal Evangelism
Matthew 5:15 (NIV) Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
When I say the word "evangelist," what is the image that comes into your mind? A television preacher with really bad hair, begging for money? Or perhaps a stranger at your front door, interrupting your Sunday nap? You may have even read the title of this devotional and thought, Oh brother, this one is not for me. I think when Jesus hears the word "evangelist," He sees you and me. He envisions all believers being light in a very dark world.
The problem for most of us is that we do not know where to begin when it comes to being a light for Christ in our world. We are very comfortable being undercover Christians, just talking about God and Christ among our fellow Christians. We are scared to step outside the comfort zones of church and home, and to uncover our lamps. Lets look at some practical steps toward getting started on a path of being witnesses for Christ in all we do.
The first step on this path is taking an honest look at our own lives. The most compelling question on this subject is, If you were put on trial and the jury was your family, friends, coworkers, classmates and other people in your sphere of influence, would your life provide enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian? Are you living an authentic and consistent Christian life, no matter where you are or whom you are around? Are you the same person on the golf course as you are in Sunday school class? Do you treat your classmates, family members, fellow workers, the waitperson in the restaurant, the person at the checkout counter all the same? Can they tell that there is something different (in a positive way) about you? Can they tell your values are different than the worlds values? A life of inconsistency severely diminishes your effectiveness as an example of Christ.
Secondly, once we get our own lives in order as much as humanly possible, then we can earn the right to be heard by the nonbelievers in our worlds. We need to build relationships with unsaved people. Paul tells us to be in the world but not of the world. Be deliberate. I am very deliberate about trying to build relationships with nonbelievers. Pray for God to put in your life, someone who needs you. He will honor that prayer.
I hear you now. "Now what, David? What in the world am I going to do if someone asks me about God?" Relax. Different people have different styles of evangelism. Peter was very confrontational, while Paul was very intellectual. Likewise, different personalities will respond to different styles of evangelism. All some people need is a simple, "would you like to come to my church this weekend?" Or a simple "we are having a great music program Wednesday night at my church. Would you like to join us?" Some of us find it very easy to say, "life for me is better, now that I have discovered the Bible is applicable to my life." Find the style that best suits your personality and use it. The main thing is just being the person that God wired you up to be.
Next week I will lay out some different styles of personal evangelism that are found in the Bible. Until then, be in earnest prayer, asking for an honest assessment of your walk with Christ, as well as of your consistency. Would you be convicted of being a Christian, if you were tried by a jury of your peers?
Lord, forgive us for our sins. Help us to live as You command us to live, and to be more consistent and authentic in every arena where we are placed. In Christs name, Amen.