I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine. I asked him a question Marty Dupree uses when witnessing. I asked, “do you have any spiritual beliefs?” He answered that he is a Christian. Later in the conversation I found this friend attends church, watches services when he is not home, and listens, almost exclusively, to Christian worship music. So, I asked a different question, “if you were to die today and stand before God, and He asked, ‘why should I let you into my heaven?’ What would you say?”
My friend’s response was, “I don’t know”.
Please let that sink in and consider the ramifications of his answer. How can someone claim to be a Christian, attend church regularly, listen to worship music, but not know the answer to the second question?
Quite simply because none of those actions make you a Christian.
Romans 10:9-10 tell us, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.”
It is not enough to know Jesus is real. It is not even enough to know Jesus is Lord. Knowing these things are true does not bring salvation. James 2:19 tells us, “You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder.”
Being a Christian means acknowledging Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives. It is yielding our lives to His. Jesus is our redeemer, and that is a wonderful thing. But a redeemer owns the thing redeemed.
There is another aspect to consider in my friend’s story. Inviting people to church is not the same as sharing our faith.
Every single person who has acknowledge Jesus as Lord lives under the directive of Matthew 28:19-20 to go into the world and tell others about Jesus. More than that, we are called to make disciples. For many of us this is a frightening idea. In some cases, we hide behind the incorporated church. We wait for someone to start a program or plan a strategy we can support that will take the gospel into the world.
We over complicate the issue.
Quite simply, witnessing is when a servant of Jesus tells someone who does not know Jesus about Jesus. Not about the church, or the actions and activities of the church, but about Jesus. There are many strategies and guides to help in this, but the best insight I have ever heard is this: you will talk about the things you love.
Anyone who knows me for any length of time will hear me talk about my wife, children, and (most recently) grandchildren. Why? Because they are precious to me and my life is invested in them. I do not need classes or a strategy to tell someone about them. My conversation overflows from the love and devotion I have for them.
Sharing Christ should be similar. If you say, “I don’t know how?” Then find ways to spend more time with Him. Start by asking Him for help. Read His word. Pray. Let the worship music you hear become active praise in your heart and on your lips. Talk with Him throughout your day. Loving Christ is very similar to loving our family, especially our spouse. If we pull away. If we are selfish and self-focused, then our love dwindles. It is only as we invest in our spouse that our love deepens and grows. The same can be said of our love for Christ.
In many ways, sharing our faith is like losing weight. Losing weight is simple. You must burn more calories than you take in. If you do this, your weight goes down. It is not complicated. So why are there 1001 diet programs in existence? Because as simple as that concept is, it is difficult to execute. We want a shortcut.
Furthermore, some diets we create can harm our bodies. We possibly end up sacrificing our health so we can trim our waistline. Our desire for a shortcut may produce quick results, but often the results are short-lived because they are artificial in nature. The change is not sustainable.
Similarly, telling people about Jesus is a very simple idea. But it is difficult. Because of this we wait for church strategies. Or we rely on simply inviting people to church in hopes the pastor will witness for us. We invest in the work being done at the church building, but not necessarily in the work of the church, specifically telling others about Jesus with our words.
Every single individual person who bends the knee to Jesus as Lord and Savior has been called by Christ to take His name to our neighbors. Some will be called to take His name farther still. But all are called to carry His name to someone.
May we be found faithful in this privileged responsibility. Let us never assume those around us know our Lord and Savior. May our witness of Him flow freely from a heart of love and gratitude, nurtured and growing through time spent with Him. And, if we find this difficult, may we seek help from God Himself to overcome our weakness and make His name known.