I often run across believers that are so afraid of sharing Christ with others that they are paralyzed when the opportunity presents itself. I have felt that fear myself occasionally. What can be done to help them, or any one of us that faces a similar problem?
People who understand the need for evangelism speak about the HOW, WHAT, WHO, WHY, WHERE, and even the what – without always communicating the underlying truth behind our efforts. We are also hard on people who do not participate in Christ’s Great Commission, if I’m being honest with myself. That is what this article is about – what drives ME to share Christ. There are several things that do this for me, and maybe someone can find motivation in one or more of these for themselves.
The VERY first thing that comes to mind here is that He DIED for me. There are a lot of things I could say about this, but every real believer in Christ knows this is true. You think about what the Scriptures say about that and what that implies for my life. First, God LOVED me…so much, in fact, that he did something about my need to deal with all the wrong I had done in my life even by the age of 18, and even about the sin condition I inherited from Adam, the first man. Because the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23-24), and death is what MY sin had earned me, God Himself became a man, yet without Adam’s sin and having lived a pure life, paid the price for MY wrongdoings FOR me. He was my substitute if you will, my atonement (old English word Propitiation). When I contemplate that, my heart is moved with sorrow toward humility and an immense gratefulness that spurs me to activity as worship for Him to obey His words. Those words to us all were to preach the Gospel to every creature on earth (Mark 16:15).
The next thing that comes to my mind is that I want people to hear that they don’t have to die in their sins, but can have this wonderful alternative of Christ! He has paid not just for MY sins, but for the sins of the entire world! Only two things are necessary – repent and believe! It doesn’t cost anything, no one has anything to lose, and everything to gain. John 3:16 says it all – He really does love us – enough to pay out our account in full and grant us eternal life if we simply receive that good news. What I have real trouble understanding is why anyone in their actual right minds could say no to such a love and commitment from God Himself, written down for us in His own blood. I could go on, but I think I’ve stated my case.
There are people that insist that we must share Christ or we will be faced with the horrible consequences written in Scripture. Although they may be correct, I think it is very telling as to what their motivations are for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ – fear and guilt come to mind, as does legalism. In my reading of Scripture, I see that as counter to 2 Tim. 1:7, which tells us that God has NOT given us a spirit of fear (Gk. delia – cowardice) , but one of power (Gk. dunamis – strength), love (Gk. agape – divine, self-sacrificial love), and a sound mind (Gk. sophronismos – self control). Those who use fear to motivate others by definition cannot and do not have peoples’ best interests at heart. Those who use fear to motivate themselves are telling us all they are really just cowards trying to look like they have a brave face (and usually aren’t sharing Christ either, at least not properly, the way a person can be reached). That’s the kind of error that leads to spewing hate by picketing soldiers’ funerals and thus the world to lump the rest of us into that one bad group and m ake the lost stop listening to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now I ask you – is that EVER a good thing?
Another issue that is related to the kind of cowardice I just spoke of above is legalism – setting a fixed way to share the Gospel like a checklist from which one must not deviate. I’ve shared in another article (here) that there is no one “correct” way to share Christ. What works for one may turn another off and scare them away. That would be counterproductive at best in my opinion. The apostle Paul said that he became all things to all people so that by all means he may save some (see 1 Cor. 9:19-23). The approach we should have in sharing Christ with others should flow naturally from our love and care for them and speak to that individual’s particular need. Some need the freeing power of Jesus to overcome substance abuse of some kind. Some need the cleansing power of Jesus’ blood to cleanse their minds and conscience so they can become pure and holy. Some need to see their need of the Saviour and their own inability to do anything about their own salvation by showing them how they really measure up to God’s holy standard, the 10 commandments. What attracts one may not attract another. And all of them need to see that the one who shares Christ with them is not a hypocrite but has reality with God in his or her own life.
I ask the question I asked in my title – what drives YOU to share Christ? Only you can know, and if you don’t the Lord is merciful to show you if you will only ask Him.
More love to Thee, O Christ
More love to Thee
Hear Thou the prayer I make
On bended knee
This is my earnest plea
More love, O Christ to Thee
More love to Thee
More love to Thee
–Elizabeth P. Prentiss, 1856