A new year is upon us and with it new opportunities of various sorts. Resolutions abound, goals for 2014 in the fore. As time continues its’ constant march, so God’s heart continues to beat for the lost. For people need the Lord, and God desires that no one die without Christ, but that all would come to repentance.
As we think about how we will spend our time and energy in 2014 in light of this reality, how then shall we live?
May I propose a simple yet profound challenge – to more actively engage the evangelistic process.
A foundational scripture for this engagement is found in 1 Peter 3:15, which states, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” In this verse I draw three principles that, when applied, will further our witness to others.
Specifically, our witness will grow when we become more:
Becoming more intentional – “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.” Evangelism is a heart issue. Central to God’s redemptive plan in delivering people out of bondage to sin into freedom in Christ is HIS heart to seek out and save the lost. In Luke 19:10 Jesus said, “…the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” – that was you and me at one time, and now it’s those people we interact with on a daily basis in the marketplace who have not yet believed in Jesus. Jesus had compassion for the lost (Matthew 9:36) and so should we.
Will we surrender more of our heart to God in this area? Lord, please help me see people more as you see them and give me a heart that breaks even more for the lost.
Becoming more available – “Always be ready.” Evangelism is a process. A big part of the process is readiness. I have a pastor friend of mine name Luke who recently shared with me that every day he prays for open doors and ministry opportunities.
I’ve started to include that in my prayers and have seen God bless that heart cry. It’s the kind of prayer we can pray with confidence and expectation.
Paul urged others to pray for open doors on his behalf in Colossians 4:2-4 – “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ…”
Will we strive to become more available and strive to grow in readiness with a good work or good word? Lord, please help me to grow in readiness to demonstrate and proclaim the gospel as You provide open doors and ministry opportunities.
Becoming more relational – “with meekness and fear.” When talking about your sphere of influence and mine, the most effective evangelistic effort takes place in the context of personal relationships. Personal evangelism requires that we get our hands messy, for relationships are hard work.
This may boggle your mind, but a recent study just out finds that one out of five non-Christians in North America doesn’t personally know any Christians. It’s new research in Gordon-Conwell’s Center for the Study of Global Christianity’s Christianity in its Global Context, 1970-2020.
If you have non-Christians in your life, will you pray for a deeper engagement and if you don’t have any non-believers in your life would you begin asking God to bring someone in your life for the sake of being a light for Christ?
Will we seek to be more relational with those outside the faith? Lord, please help me to be more committed to redemptive relationships with those who don’t yet know you.
So there you have it – the 2014 Personal Evangelism Challenge – to be more intentional, available, and relational in your personal witness. Will you take it with me? Let me know. Grace and Peace!