Everytime I am mid-conversation and the opportunity arises to share the Gospel, I get nervous. I have been a Christian for years, I have spoken in public arenas, to audiences of 8,000+, I have talked about Jesus most of my life and now share the Gospel every day as part of my job, but for some reason when it comes telling Jesus’ story and offer of salvation I still get nervous.
Christians often ponder what it is exactly that makes us nervous to share the Gospel and and typically the answer is the fear of offending someone (because no one wants to tell someone else or be told that they are sinful and deserve damnation because of it), or the fear of being rejected.
I work for a Christian non-profit, and my job is to manage volunteers. I get up to 100 volunteers a day and as part of daily orientation I get to share the Gospel with them. Well more than half of my volunteers are not from church groups, and I have been opposed many times – both in private and publicly. I tend to find that my level of nerves ebbs and flows with my audience. For some reason I am comfortable to speak to the elderly and to the younger, but when my peers who are professionals walk in, I get nervous. Weird.
Yesterday I had a group of twenty five eleven to thirteen year olds with chaperons. My nerves were not bothered. I got halfway into the story of Jesus and a young man interrupted me to ask about something from earlier in the orientation. I thought nothing of it, responded and went back to Jesus’ story. At the end, some of the girls were quite vocal that they were uncomfortable that I was talking about Jesus because they are Jewish. I found it strange that they were attempting to play 7th grade peer pressure and intimidation on me. As I contemplated their endeavor a young man walked up to me and said, “You handled yourself very well, I respect that” and walked away.
Knowing my legal rights and my company’s identity, I have lost the fear of being politically incorrect to speak about Jesus, and speaking to a group of young people simply did not cause me reservation. But this young man noticed their social games. He struck me as a very mature middle school kid, in his verbiage and observation of what was happening.
Why then do I have timidity when it comes to my peers? Why would those social games of intimidation work on me if I were looking someone eye to eye? Or would they?
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”
– John 15.18-19
We are not of this world and the world is not going to understand us. In fact, if we are living like Christ did, they are going to hate us. We are aliens in this world: we do not and should not fit in (1 Peter 2.11). We should not be comfortable because we know our Savior and home is awaiting us. We are looking forward to another world. Therefore we should not be affected by what people think or say. We should be so confident that if someone attempts social “bullying” we do not even realize it because it does not impact us.
We should, however, be driven by the fact that they do not yet know. Our love for God should lead us to true and genuine compassion for the lost soul headed to Hell. Let’s approach the judgment throne smelling like smoke for trying to pull people back from Hell’s gates. Jesus died for us, we can make an effort for others.
But most of us are impacted because are still dying to our flesh. So when you open your mouth to speak, ask the Lord to give you the words – He promises that He will:
“But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”
– Matt 10.19-20
And trust Him that only He changes hearts. Try and see if you don’t feel a wonderful sense of joy in your obedience after sharing, regardless of the response! Just let Jesus shine through you, because He does – after all – live in you!