I have a friend who is incredibly gifted at sharing the Gospel. He is passionate about God and genuine in his desire to share God’s love with others. Even our pastor has joked that my friend could read the phone book and people would flood the altar.
I am not gifted in that area. I can write about God’s Word. And I can do alright speaking about it…if I’ve had time to prepare. But I am not someone who can strike up a conversation about the weather and end with a heartfelt call to repentance. My friend can.
It’s not because I haven’t tried. I’ve tried all the “witnessing” tools in days gone by, but they all seem very stiff, rehearsed, and “canned.” Nothing genuine, nothing sincere (not when I do it, anyway).
Fortunately, God doesn’t require me to wax eloquent on matters of Scripture with every cashier and bank teller I encounter. He doesn’t expect me to have all the answers before I share His love. He doesn’t want me to try to rely on strengths that aren’t mine or live out someone else’s giftings.
But neither does He want me to sit idly by and let my “more eloquent” friends do all the work.
Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace. (2 Corinthians 1:12)
I am often reminded of something my high school youth pastor once told me: “Live your life so that others can’t help but notice something different and have to ask you about it.” I didn’t realize at the time he was echoing the words of St. Francis of Assissi:
Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary, use words.
So, what does that look like, exactly? I think Paul gives us three keys in the above verse:
Integrity (noun)–adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
That alone will make you stand out in the crowd these days. To live your life, conduct your business, teach your family, and gauge your relationships with ethical principles, moral character, and honesty. You’ll get people talking for sure!
I’ve heard people say they don’t want anything to do with church because there are too many hypocrites. Imagine if they met someone whose faith was genuine…sincere. Someone who didn’t make them feel like a number on a “sinner redemption list,” but who genuinely cared about their needs and their well-being. The simple act of being you (or me) and genuinely caring for others. That might just be enough to make them start asking questions.
Ultimately, this is what it’s all about isn’t it? Paul says, “relying not on worldy wisdom, but on God’s grace.”
It’s not really about having answers to all their questions. It’s simply telling them your story. What has God done for you? What does He mean to you? Why do you choose to trust Him? Those are the questions we need to answer.
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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.