“Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him…” (Mark 10:21a NLT)
Please forgive me for the length of this post, but if you are interested in knowing more how to help your friends and loved ones know Jesus, just read what you have time to read, then come back when you have more time and read the rest.
Jesus was always sensitive to the needs of the persons with whom He spoke and His speaking was always motivated by a heart of love. The more we grow in our likeness of Jesus, the more effective we will be in winning our friends and loved ones to Jesus. The more they are able to see Jesus in us, not only in the way we speak, but in the way we live, the more open they will be to allow Jesus to speak to them through us.
Our motivation in sharing our faith must always be to honor and bless Jesus, and our goal must be to help those with whom we share to find a full and complete life in Jesus, not simply miss hell or gain heaven. Please don’t misunderstand. I long for heaven, but my longing centers on one thing – Jesus! Jesus is the Treasure I seek on earth and the Treasure I’ll find in heaven.
I’m convinced that to the extent those with whom the Lord has laid on our hearts to speak can sense a genuine love and concern for them and for Jesus, to that extent they’ll open their hearts to us and be willing to listen. Prayer is foundational in allowing that to happen.
Dick Eastman said, “Behind the saving grace of every believer is someone praying.” Sharing our story, our spiritual journey, our faith – however you want to think of it, MUST begin with prayer if our goal is to allow the Lord to lead someone to Him through us. Prayer prepares our heart and mind to speak and prepares the heart and mind of the one with whom we share to hear what God is seeking to say to them.
Never underestimate the workings of the Lord in you AND in the one with whom He lays on your heart to speak. In my nearly sixty years of walking with Jesus, I have NEVER saved anyone, I’ve simply been a vessel through whom the Lord has been faithful to do HIS saving work. He’ll work in you to the extent you’re willing to ask Him (prayer) and then are willing to get out of His way and allow Him to work through you (faith) to His honor and fame.
The first and best way to help others know Jesus is to be continually growing in your intimacy with Him yourself. Then you can allow the Holy Spirit free access to fill and empower you in any way He sees fit to reach others to Christ’s glory and honor. He will give you insight and understanding as to who He desires you to speak with and guidance as to what to say.
Foundationally, you prepare your heart and mind through prayer, reading and studying the Bible, but it’s also helpful to memorize key verses such as John 3:16, Romans 3:23 and 6:23; Romans 10:9, Proverbs 14:12 and Acts 4:12. Additionally, write your own story that you can share in 2-3 minutes, focusing on three main points. First, how was your life before you met Jesus? Second, what were the circumstances of your life when you came to know Jesus? Then thirdly, how has your life changed since you surrendered your life to Him? But perhaps THE MOST important question you need to ASK is: “Tell me about you, what’s your story?” Spouting Scripture to someone who doesn’t believe the Bible is often futile and trying to share your story with someone the Lord hasn’t prepared to hear can be counterproductive. LISTEN not only to WHAT they say, but HOW they say it. Be attentive to the person with whom you’re speaking, while at the same time being sensitive to how the Lord is leading and prompting you. He will give you everything you need, to do all He’s asking you to do.
Remember, your ONLY role in sharing your faith is obedience to the Lord. The results are always and only in the Lord’s hands. The only way you ever fail in helping others know and understand who Jesus is, is to be insensitive to the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
You may think: “But what if they don’t pray to receive Christ?” What if they don’t? Maybe that was never the Lord’s role for you in that setting. Don’t assume your goal in every conversation with a pre-Christian is salvation (harvesting). Often our role is simply to plant faith seeds or water the seeds others have planted. Those are three EQUALLY important roles, so don’t be discouraged if your conversation leads to more questions than answers.
The goal of EVERY discussion with anyone about Jesus is to leave the door open for the next person whom the Lord has appointed to speak with them. Encourage, uplift, share openly and honestly as the Lord directs, but don’t try to take the person in a direction the Lord hasn’t prepared them to go.
It’s almost always a good thing to ask them if you can pray for them, but again, be sensitive to the Lord even as you pray. Pray in line with what they’ve asked you to pray, in terms of subject. (i.e. – please pray for my sick child, my need of a job, etc.)
Following Jesus is the greatest adventure I’ve ever experienced. Each day I’m constantly on the lookout for Jesus to intersect my life and introduce me to a person or circumstance that will challenge me in ways I’ve never been challenged and give me opportunity to see Him more clearly than ever before. Speaking with someone about Jesus is the delight of my life, but speaking must always follow the clear path of loving.
Sometimes the most effective way to help someone know Jesus is to keep your mouth shut and let your love do the talking.