Does the thought of sharing your faith with someone make you feel petrified with fear? What if someone asks you a question you can’t answer? What if befriending a person whose life is “a mess” ends up dragging you down? Rebecca Manley Pippert wrote a book on evangelism years ago entitled, “Out of the Saltshaker and into the World.” She still travels around the globe conducting “Salt Shaker evangelism training conferences” and has found that everywhere she goes Christians feel inadequate when it comes to sharing their faith in Christ with others. In order to overcome our fear and sense of inadequacy in sharing our faith, Pippert says we should “look at the incarnation of Christ.”
We’ve just come through the Christmas season in which we’ve celebrated Christ’s incarnation, the fact that “the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). God came down to us from His lofty throne in heaven in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, and humbly took on the form of a servant. Becoming a man, Christ loved humanity, leaving us an example of how to relate to others.
Pippert says, “God doesn’t require perfection to be able to use us. In fact, His power is glorified through our weakness.” We don’t need to come across high and mighty, or have pat answers to every question. In fact, it’s a turn off to others if we do. Many are attributing Hillary Clinton’s recent comeback in the New Hampshire Primary Election to the fact that she expressed a moment of emotional vulnerability to a voter who simply asked her how she was doing. People want to see the reality of the struggle more than a polished pat answer.
Yet, John 1:14 tells us that Jesus came to earth not just “full of grace,” but “full of grace and truth.” Pippert shares how a year ago, a man came up to her at one of her conferences and said, “I fix all the cars in my neighborhood, and my wife bakes cookies – that’s our witness to our neighbors.” Pippert replied, “That’s fantastic. Demonstrating the authentic love of Christ is critical to being a witness. But have you ever expressed the source behind your love?” He said, “No, I just let my actions tell the story.” As foundational as love is in our witness to the world, Jesus also came telling the truth about the Kingdom. If we never share the source behind our love, seekers could think we’re simply “Boy Scouts.”
In the final analysis, evangelism isn’t a particular method or technique. Evangelism flows naturally out of a heart that knows God and is being transformed by His love in the confidence that God’s Word and His Spirit are powerful, life-changing resources. I love Pippert’s summary of an incarnational evangelistic lifestyle:
- Display Christ’s love
- Depend on God’s Spirit, and
- Declare God’s truth.
If you would like to read this article in its entirety go to http://www.christianitytoday.com/outreach/articles/godcamedown.html.