Regardless of how comfortable you are in making contact with people or introducing yourself to people you don’t know, you may experience a hurdle in mentioning Jesus’ name. When you do this it seems all the cards are on the table and now it’s either ridicule, mocking or joy.
What helps me in being able to talk about Jesus to anyone are: 1. Knowing who I am in relation to Jesus; 2. The hope in the Gospel, just like Paul; 3. I am righteous in the Lord. The last one needs the most clarification, but let me explain the other two first.
I know who I am – I am a son of Jesus. In John 1:3 it states that through Him, Jesus, all things were made. My true being is spirit, and it was created directly by God through Jesus. Paul’s confidence came from the Gospel, as it is spelled out in Colossians 1:22-23:
22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.
Through your daily habit of reading and meditating on scripture, the Word will penetrate your bones and seep into your marrow, and from there carried throughout your body on all the little red blood cells. Your confidence will be in your veins. When you pursue God through the reading and meditating on His Word, you will be transformed in such a way that it feels like a biological metamorphosis. Maybe it can be compared to the metamorphosis of an embryo into a fetus, a fetus into a infant, and infant into a toddler and so on and so on.
Now for the third point. When the Word is a guiding principle in your life, you become a servant of God, no different than a child is the subject of his or her parents. Because of this close relationship with God you become righteous. You righteousness comes from carrying His name as a child of God, and when you are obedient to His promptings. You become His delegate in the world that He created.
It may take time to have this bold mindset, so what do you do in the meantime? Wait? No! You are going to have to get uncomfortable. There are many ways to go about getting your feet wet when it comes to saying the name of Jesus.
One way is to go out with a group and hand out literature about the Good News. You will experience a lot of disinterested people, but it is the action itself of sowing seeds that it the focus. Think of the parable of the Sower (Matthew 13), where only one type of seed out of the four fall on fertile ground. The ones that germinate and grow, turns into a great harvest.
13:3 …“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. 5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!…”
13:19 “… The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. 20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. 23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
Isn’t this true with anything in life. Take sales for instance. You can call 100 people to sell them something, but only get two sales. Or, when you find yourself volunteering and getting people to help, you find that it is usually the same small group of people out of a huge congregation that get involved. No worries! This is the nature of things. Accept it and be O.K. with it. As long as you are one of the few, you are doing good!
Going out to the mall with a friend is a great place to evangelize. You get to use your contacting skills to meet new people, with an expectation of mentioning Jesus’ name. Just remember, your goal is just to mention His name, and that is it. The end-result is getting comfortable speaking about Him with no hesitation. You can do something bold, like Don would do, and that is just go right up to a person and say, “I have great news for you. Jesus loves you!”. Or you can go up to someone and compliment him, “You look really great! I love that outfit, it looks great on you! You should be very blessed that Jesus loves you so much!” Just have fun.
When you are lifting someone up with compliments, you will get receptive people. Remember, right now you are in training – you may have too much anxiety to speak from your heart. In time, you will without any pause.
When I was writing this, I was riding a trolley into the city. When I got onto the train, I spoke to the driver, and she was very pleasant. I sat down and began writing this, and when we neared out destination the driver informed us on the speaker system. But then she added, “… and have a pleasant day!” She said it with so much joy in her voice, that I made it a point to let her know she is a wonderful person. I was sitting on the opposite side of the trolley from door that exited near her seat. When we stopped I got in the line that exited by her seat, and made sure everyone else was in front of me.
When I reached her seat I stopped and told her how pleasant she was, and of course she loved hearing the compliment. I went on to say, “You have so much Joy. It is the Joy of Jesus Christ, isn’t it?” She said with resounding Joy, “Yes! I do know that!” And that was it. I said good-bye, have a great day and God Bless you. But that was it. Simple and easy. What happens after that is the domino affect of Joy at work in other peoples lives. The Joy doesn’t just end there between the two people. It continues affecting other people. It is like a ripple in a pond .
Think of how Joyous the heavens are when we recognize the Joy of Jesus in our brothers and sisters. As they watch from the heavens, they can see the ripple affect that one interaction has on all the lives around. Remember these things often.
Evangelizing is really speaking from the heart. Let your heart guide you in this exercise. Give praise and honor to Jesus. Your conversation may just be about weather, so just give thanks to God for it. Or, it may be about health – give thanks to God for that too. If you can’t muster up the courage to say those simple things, at least when you depart say “It was a pleasure meeting you. God Bless you and take care.” It really is easy once you start doing it. Think about the affect it would have on our world if we were all talking about Jesus.
There are many ways and places you can go to evangelize, but I am going to end with this: just say “God Bless” you when you say good-bye, or instead of saying good-bye. Get in the habit of saying this. I figure if Hitler can get an entire country to say his name, there is no reason why we can’t get every Christian saying God’s name.
Just try motioning Jesus to someone at least once today, or if it is late, tomorrow. Then find another opportunity to mention His name again. Regarding work, you need to make a judgment call on that. My thought is this – I am a Baltimore Ravens fan, and if it comes up at work, then I let it be known. Same thing with my Christianity, if it comes up, I have no issues letting people know I am a Christian. Luke 9:26 states,
If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.
You have to work with these people daily, so evangelize passively – through your character, prayer for appointments, and upon request. I do not make it a point to proactively evangelize at work, because if I am spending that time at work evangelizing then I am not doing what I was hired to do. If I need to, I suggest getting lunch together off work grounds, or meeting after work. Paul has this to say about being a good employee:
23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
Keep your mind filled with whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable (Philippians 4:8). Think of a world centered on Christ, the way God intends it. Focus on this, read and meditate on the Word daily, and you will be transformed into a confident Christian who is not ashamed of proclaiming the name of Jesus.