Bible Reading: John 17:14-19
As you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. John 17:18
YOU’RE PRAYING for a list of people who need to know Christ. You’re taking some leaps of bold faith toward sharing the gospel with them. And you’re chomping at the bit to get started-passing out tracts at the mall, dangling fish symbols from your book bag, and wearing your “Turn or Burn” witnessing T-shirt to school.
There might be nothing wrong with any of those strategies for telling people about Jesus. But if you want to get good at sharing the gospel with friends and family, you can practice some key relational and communication skills. Your hottest witnessing opportunities are with the people you know well-people with whom you already have a growing, positive relationship. There are inescapably good reasons for building bridges of communication with non-Christians:
1. God fills you so you can serve people. When God tops you off with his Holy Spirit, he reproduces his supernatural qualities in you-like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (see Galatians 5:22-23). But he doesn’t jam you full of good fruit just to satisfy you. He builds these qualities in you so you’re equipped to get along with and minister to people.
2. God planted you among unbelievers. If God’s only purpose for your existence was to save you, he would have yanked you out of your world the moment you trusted Christ. And if he wanted you to spend your life only with other believers, you’d find Bible verses instructing Christians to huddle together in isolation. But after you trusted Christ, God left you plunk in the middle of a school and community full of non-Christians. He planted you there so you can influence them-and invite them to a personal relationship with Christ.
3. Your unbelieving friends really want to know God. They might not act like it, but your non-Christian friends have a mighty inner desire to know their Maker. God wired that desire into their hearts when he created them. Study your friends long enough and you’ll realize that many of their activities are frantic attempts to fill their inner emptiness. And as you get to know your friends better, you’ll spot their inner needs.
You might be tempted at times to pull away from your non-Christian friends because you don’t want to be associated with some of their choices. But how can you reach people if you’re never with them?
REFLECT: How does God help you with the task of telling people about him?
PRAY: Ask God today to help you begin to build bridges of relationship to those around you who need to know him.