I’ve never been great at sharing the gospel with others. There have even been times when people have asked me questions about my faith, and I’ve given pathetic answers that I regretted later. Of course, there are answers for that … prayer and study significant among them. But there’s another, more important answer: Trust that God is working in those around me, shaping their ears to hear and their hearts to believe. I was reminded of that this morning when reading my REAP passage from Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth:
1-2You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.
3-5I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5, The Message)
It’s important to study the bible and the doctrine of the church. And it’s important to pray for wisdom and discernment, and for God to give you the right words at the right time. But at the end of the day, nothing that you or I can do or say, no matter how well-studied, eloquent or persuasive, is going to change anyone’s heart – only God can do that. I may still be scared to death of evangelism … but so was Paul, and he did pretty well. May that thought give me the confidence to proclaim what I believe!