By Jay Lowder, Crosswalk.com
As we enter the Advent season with the anticipation of Christmas right around the corner, many of our family and friends will be consumed with the holiday tasks of decorating, baking, caroling, and shopping. And as they go about checking off their list, they will also encounter the essence of the true meaning of Christmas as songs such as “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night” plays through the stores, nativity scenes dawn lawns, and stars are placed on the tops of beautifully decorated trees.
Perhaps there is no other time of the year that people are more open to hearing the name of Jesus, which provides Christians the opportunity to proclaim it boldly.
The Season of Giving
Christmas is an opportunity for you to give something significant to your family and friends. God demonstrated this the very first Christmas when He sent His only son Jesus into the world. John 1:14 states, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus is the costliest gift God could ever give, and the best present we can ever receive. And while we know this to be true, often we are hesitant to share this gift with others.
Sometimes it is because we do not want to offend. According to a recent Barna study, almost half of Millennials (47%) agree at least somewhat that it is wrong to share one’s personal beliefs with someone of a different faith in hopes that they will one day share the same faith. But this is no reason to hold back. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Other times, we do not share because we fear rejection or believe we don’t have the theological or biblical knowledge to do so. But sharing Jesus shouldn’t be something we fear – that is satan’s trickery used to keep you from proclaiming the Good News.
If you have accepted the free gift of salvation from Christ, it is your responsibility to pass it on to others. Matthew 28:19-20 commands, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” While this is an ongoing commandment, what better time to share the Good News than at Christmas, when Jesus’s name is ubiquitous even for those who do not yet believe.
Faith Comes by Hearing
I am a full-time evangelist, but in reality, so are you. By definition, an evangelist is a “bearer of good tidings.” Therefore, we are all called and able to be evangelists.
While some believe that our actions are enough to share Jesus, I believe, as the Apostle Paul espouses in Romans 10:17, that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
Obviously, you can’t share your faith with words if your actions don’t match; otherwise, you are a hypocrite, but the importance of verbally telling those around us the Good News of Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection cannot be overstated.
5 Tips for Sharing Your Faith
When we think about evangelism, we often think of sharing on a mission trip or door-to-door with random strangers. In reality, there is so much opportunity to share about Jesus with those whom we know and love.
As you prepare to gather with friends and family this Christmas season, here are five tips for beginning a conversation with someone who doesn’t yet have a personal relationship with Jesus.
1. Share your own story.
Stories are powerful. Jesus knew this, which is why he often spoke in parables. Doctrines and theology are debatable, but personal experiences cannot be denied. Your own story of putting your trust in Jesus is powerful. Think this through and put it on paper. Writing the account of how you met Jesus will enable you to remember, refine and recount when the opportunity arises. This cultivates an awareness of where you would be if you had not come to faith, and where others will be if they don’t find His forgiveness.
2. Don't preach or condemn.
Compassion and empathy are the medicine of the day. Use Jesus’ example of speaking truth without condemnation. Never did he judge, but rather, his words were spoken in love.
3. Avoid debates.
Celebrating Christ's birth is a perfect time to talk about the person of Jesus, but avoid topics of religion, traditional practices, or Bible doctrines. Those only cause disagreements and are not essential to a relationship with Christ.
4. Rely on God.
Ask Him to provide you with the opportunity, courage, and right words to say. He promises to use you if you are willing. It’s true that we are not perfect, nor are we fully equipped, but the good news is we don’t have to be. We have been given an amazing resource – the Holy Spirit. This is where the power and boldness come from to make you effective. Without the Holy Spirit’s anointing, you will be fearful and nonproductive.
5. Don't get discouraged.
God doesn't require results from you. Not everyone will receive it. Your responsibility is only to plant seeds. Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” If you are sincere in this request, the Lord will not deny you. He will open doors for you to share His love.
This Christmas, don’t miss an opportunity to share the greatest gift anyone can ever receive – the gift of eternal life!
Rejoice in the birth of Christ with this FREE 25 Days to a Joyful Christmas Prayer Guide!
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Bogdan Kurylo
Jay Lowder is a full-time evangelist and founder of Jay Lowder Harvest Ministries. Follow him on Twitter at @jaylowder.