Sometimes I hear people say that, if you are a real believer, you will be actively sharing your faith with other people. This expectation used to be problematic for me given that I have always felt inhibited from evangelism in the way it is often presented, such as one-on-one conversations with non-Christians about the Gospel. For a long time, I did not know why this was the case. However, in recent months, I think I have learned the reason why.
I grew up thinking that being a true Christian made you a “good person.” Non-Christians, I thought, were unwise, rebellious, and prideful. Up through my mid-adolescent years, I adhered to Christian beliefs because I associated those beliefs with good people, and I wanted to feel like a good person rather than a bad person. However, I did not have a personal identification with those beliefs. I did not realize all of this until recently. But knowing it explains why I couldn’t evangelize.
Typically, evangelical Christians want for believers to do the following:
Approach unbelievers and tell them that God loves them and wants for them to be saved. Tell them that they have sinned and fall short of God’s standard of righteousness, but that they can be saved and go to Heaven instead of Hell if they believe that Jesus died for their sins and rose from the dead.
But here’s the problem; even today, the doctrines described above, in and of themselves, do not necessarily convince me of Christianity. So how can I approach a person on the street and tell him with conviction to believe those things?
The first time that I personally identified with Biblical doctrine was when I began reflecting on the principles of the Book of Romans that I have been writing about on this blog, in particular, Romans Chapters 6 and 7. When I read these Scriptures, I feel that they are truly describing my own life and all of the deep thoughts and feelings that I have lived with. I believe that it required Divine inspiration for the Apostle Paul to admit such revealing details about human nature – details that human nature itself would inhibit one from acknowledging. And, through my own experience, I conclude that the solution to sin through Christ that those chapters describe is a truly essential solution.
But this message is not something you can stop people on the street and explain. I cannot have a personal conversation about it with people I do not know on a very personal level. The spiritual principles of Romans are described in mystical language that can only be made practical through deep reflection on one’s life.
However, I share my faith by writing articles online so that people can hear what I have to say on their own time, when they reach a point in their lives where they are thinking about spiritual matters and want to understand how spirituality may relate to their own lives.
So, for any of you out there who are struggling with evangelism, I would encourage you to spend some time asking yourself the question, “What elements of Christianity truly resonate in my own life?” And then consider what means of communication is suitable for those elements.
As always, feel free to share your own thoughts here.
Yeah, my wife and I were talking about this today. Just write and leave it at that. I don’t believe Jesus is pushy, or in a hurry, or fretting about the people in the world getting saved or going to a lost eternity. Each one comes in in His time, which is also their time. I see people every day in my town and have never shared the Gospel with them. All that pressure was lifted off me over the last few years…what a relief! Of course to many believers I am considered to be backslidden. 🙂
Thank you for your reply. I think that the concept of “backsliding” is very problematic. It has always perplexed me how some Christians can say that God accepts you regardless of your own righteousness, but then turn around and say that if you’re backslidden you have to get right with God again. But then they don’t seem to provide a concrete definition of what backsliding entails, which sends one back to self-scrutiny and self-righteousness.
As for evangelism, I like the way you put it, “Jesus isn’t fretting.” In His own time, He can lead us into the right way to witness to those He has called in this life. Knowing this definitely brings a sense of relief!