Showing Your Faith Before You Share It
Perhaps you have heard this quote before, "Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words."
I love this quote, but I think sometimes we hear things like this, but we aren't sure what to do with them. What does it mean to preach the gospel at all times?
I have been thinking a lot about discipleship and evangelism lately and what that really looks like. When I think discipleship I think of Jesus spending three years with 12 guys transforming them from a bunch of yahoos to world changers. When I think of Evangelism I think of the Billy Graham Crusade I got to go to when I was about ten, a stadium packed with people with a man's voice that seemed to penetrate every heart.
Here is the problem with that, I'm pretty sure if I spent three years with 12 yahoos, I wouldn't even know where to begin in helping them to become world changers. If you were to fill a stadium with people I wouldn't have the same impact on those people as Billy Graham had.
I'm not saying this as a burn on myself, I'm saying this because its simply true. It is true AND I am still called to disciple and evangelize, and so are you. So what do we do?
Discipleship is broken down into three basic pieces. One, point people to Jesus, so they could meet Him for themselves. Two, teach them about the Bible, live a life that aligns with the Bible, and help them to live their life in a way that lines up with the Bible. Three, trust that God's presence is always with you, teach them to trust the same, and lean into His presence.
The foundation of Evangelism is simply being a living message of the goodness of God, and when people are intrigued or engaged by this life message being shown through you, you point them to Jesus, you tell them about Jesus, you proclaim Jesus.
So how do we live these things out?
Let me tell a story in the every day life of a modern day disciple-making evangelizing believer.
You wake up early and spend a little time in your Word, and you close your reading time with a prayer, asking God for wisdom and strength for the day. You help your wife wake up the kids, and start getting ready for the day. You spend some time with the kids at the table talking about their day before everyone heads off in their own directions. You get to work and dig into your projects with focus and commitment. Your interactions with others you work with are friendly and up-lifting. You offer to help a coworker with a project, you compliment a team member for their contribution, and you offer grace for the other team member who fell behind on an assignment. At lunch you're kind to the waiter, and leave a generous tip. A friend from work comes to you for advice for some personal things he's walking through and you offer some helpful wisdom, maybe even sharing a verse or concept you learned in your Scripture reading that day. You finish your work, and head home, but stop to pick up food for the family and some friends who are coming over for dinner on your way home. You strike up a kind conversation with the lady grabbing your order that you often see when you come to this particular restaurant. You arrive home to help get the house ready before your friends arrive. When they arrive, you welcome them with kindness and hospitality and you share a meal together. During the meal, you have some meaningful conversations as your friends share some struggles they are walking through. You share your own story and how God has helped you and your wife through some similar struggles. You share a few verses that you leaned on in that season, and you offer some encouragement and practical tools that will help them. You pray for your friends before they leave and thank them for sharing so openly. You clean up a bit before bed, and when you lay down, you and your wife talk a bit about the day, the conversation over dinner, and encourage each other. You say a quick prayer together before going to sleep.
There were no crowds, there was no radical encounters perhaps on this day, but you are faithfully showing Jesus to the people around you.
If we could all be faithful in living these kinds of days, planting seeds, offering encouragement, being an example we would all be surprised at the kind of impact we would have on the world around us.
Throw into that mix, the opportunities God gives you to walk in your Spiritual Gifts, with a Word of Knowledge, Helps, Exhortation or whatever your gifts may be, and you are making a real impact on the world around you.
We are all called to disciple and evangelize, and as believers we have all we need to do that every day. So, be courageous, take the opportunities as they come. Step out in faith and be consistent.
If I can offer one important piece as you walk this out, remember it is far more powerful if you show your faith before you share it. Your faith walk will open doors for you to share your faith talk.