“Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.” ~ Psalm 96:3
What if it I don't say it right? What if they hate me for it? What if they make fun of me? What if I turn them away from Jesus because I butcher it? What if? What if! What if….
I am pretty sure 95% of us (Christians) think these thoughts and get cold feet, clammy hands, and shortness of breath every time God asks us to share the Gospel.
At least, I do.
I am in no way an evangelist. In fact, I am naturally the opposite. I love spending days curled up on the couch with my kitten, a good book, and a great cup of coffee. In other words, my ideal day has nothing to do with talking to strangers.
However, the longer I walk with Jesus, the more I realize that keeping Him to myself has eternal consequences.
Here is a story that demonstrates what happens when we keep Jesus to ourselves. It's permanently seared into my heart because I believed the lies of the enemy and I let my fear outweigh my faith.
It was a few months after I met Jesus and my husband and I were out to breakfast at our favorite restaurant in Woodside, Ca. As we sat there with our kids another family came in and sat down at the table next to us.
The mom and dad were some of Jeff’s old clients. Jeff said hello and introduced all of us. We engaged in small talk for a few minutes and then turned to our menus and minded our own business for the rest of the meal.
As Jeff and I sat there, I couldn’t help but look over at one of their daughters. She was about 16 years old and she sat there with her long blonde hair covering her face. She never looked around. She just looked down.
As she sat there, she looked as if the weight of the world was on her shoulders.
I must have looked at her 100 times that morning. Each time I looked over at her I saw a deeper level of despair and brokenness in her.
I finally stopped eating and quietly asked Jeff about her. He explained that they are billionaires who live on a huge property in Woodside. He told me that she has her own private barn and all the money and horses any girl could ever dream of having.
When Jeff told me these things I realized that I had been to her property about a year earlier when I worked at a vet clinic and we went to vaccinate her horses. I agreed with him, it was an incredible place.
Somehow though, despite everything the world had given her, her depression was tangible. I knew she was hurting. I could see that she was struggling and that she didn't know her value or that Jesus loved her.
I empathized with her turmoil. I didn’t know exactly what she was going through but my heart knew the dark thoughts she was having because, before I met Jesus, I had them too.
The entire breakfast I could hardly focus on anything else but this poor girl. Jeff kept talking and sharing stories with me but all I could hear was her heart crying out for someone, for something, for help...
I wanted to help her. I wanted to do something. I wanted to love her but I didn’t know how. Every time I thought about how to reach out to her fear crept in and I let it defeat me.
The enemy would whisper, “She’s fine Kristin. It’s none of your business. You can’t talk to her. She doesn’t need your help. If you talk to her it will ruin Jeff’s reputation and he will lose business. Those people are billionaires, they have everything they need, they don’t need you…someone else will take care of her.”
We left that morning and as we turned around to say goodbye to them, my heart swelled with grief for her. I had the sinking feeling I may never see her again.
Despite the burden the Lord was placing on my heart for this girl, I never reached out to her. Instead, I believed the lies….
A week later, she killed herself...
She jumped from an overpass onto highway 280 and was hit by oncoming traffic…
When Jeff told me this I fell to the floor, overwhelmed with grief, regret, and sorrow.
Why didn't I help her? I knew she needed help and I did nothing! WHY?
Now she is gone forever...
The overpass where she jumped was on my way to work and I passed it daily. For weeks after her death people left flowers and candles in that spot and I cried every time I saw them.
I thought to myself (and still think to myself), “What if God? What if I had reached out to her that day and God had shown up and changed her life like He changed mine? What if I had let my faith outweigh my fear and I had chosen to be courageous and bold in Christ and had told her about Jesus?”
What if I had listened to the Lord?
What if she was still here?
I had the medicine. I had the cure. And I chose not to share it with her.
I don’t know what God would have done in her life if I had reached out to her and shared the love of Jesus.
I will never know.
What I do know is that the Kingdom of God can’t afford to have me stay in my comfort zone any longer and that Jesus paid too high of a price for me to continue believing the enemy's lies.
Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that I'll nail it every time. Even after this experience, I still fail the Lord. My last story about the boy at the bank proves that.
Thankfully, His mercies are new every day.
I may not always get it right, and I don't always have the courage to say yes to Jesus. But after these experiences, I know that I have to do my best to push past my discomfort and let Jesus lead.
Maybe you can relate? Maybe there’s been a time when God nudged you and asked you to do something and you’ve said no and it too has had eternal consequences?
Or maybe there has been a time when He asked you to do something and you said no and now you wonder what would’ve happened if you had said yes?
If you haven't had an experience like this, please take my story to heart so that you don't have to live with the question, "What if" for the rest of your life. Trust me, it's easier to share the Gospel than to look back and wonder what would have happened if you had.
The Gospel is the medicine for every sickness that plagues this world, and we are the doctors Christ has called to administer it.
That’s why the enemy works so hard to keep us quiet. The enemy knows that The Gospel saves. That Jesus saves.
So how do we do it? How do we share the Gospel when so many of us are so scared to step out and speak up about it? The first step is pinpointing some of the lies the enemy throws at us.
Here are five things that have kept me from sharing Jesus with others and some biblical truth to put these lies to rest.
- You don’t have the gift of evangelism- you may not be an evangelist, but you DO have the Holy Spirit living in you. The Holy Spirit always testify's about Jesus. Thus, you have everything you need to share The Gospel and all the strength you need to testify about the King.
- Someone else will do it. Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. I learned this the hard way. If God has given you the opportunity to share the Gospel with someone, He has provided that opportunity for a reason. It might be because it's their last day to hear it.
- You are responsible for the outcome. Nope! The Bible tells us that there are many types of soil the truth can land upon. In other words, we can’t control how someone receives the Gospel or what they do with it once they hear it. We must remember that we aren’t responsible if someone rejects Jesus. Only the Holy Spirit can harvest their heart for the Kingdom. We are simply responsible for sharing the Gospel, testifying about Him and then helping those who want to know more get baptized and grow in their faith.
- You’ll mess it up. Nope! You can’t! The Bible tells us that when God’s Word goes out, He always uses it to accomplish His will! This means that as long as we are speaking the truth, God will use it to accomplish what He set out to do.
- It’s too complicated. I don’t know how to share it. Friend, the Gospel is simple. Keep it simple! All you need to start out with it this: "God loves us and He hates sin. He hates sin because it separates us from Him. God came to earth as Jesus and paid the price for our sin on the cross. Because of Jesus' sacrifice, we can now have a personal relationship with God. When we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that He died for us, His blood washes us clean and saves us from an eternity of darkness." See! Simple!
Friend, the enemy loves to get us thinking about ourselves instead of focusing on Jesus. The enemy gets us thinking, “What will people think of me? What will they say? Will I be an outcast if I speak up for Jesus? Will I get rejected? What if they hate me?” What if, what if, what if…
We have to remember that sharing the Gospel isn’t about us. It’s about Jesus and the price He paid for all of us. If we love Him, we must testify.
I encourage you to let your faith outweigh your fear and to ask yourself the next time fear creeps in, “What if God shows up right now and changes this persons life? What if God comes through and saves their life? What if God performs a miracle right here and right now?”
WHAT IF GOD?
We all need help with evangelism. All of us can grow in this category. The secret is spending time with Him and asking Him for help.
I encourage you to simply sit at His feet and ask Him to fill you with His Spirit and to show you how He wants to use YOU to share the GOOD NEWS!
I promise that when you do, His Holy Spirit will give you the right words to say at the right moment and all you'll have to do is be courageous enough to say YES and to TRUST HIM!
Love to you all,