By THE SET APART GIRL TEAM
What comes to your mind when you hear the words, “sharing the Gospel”? Some may think of it as approaching someone with a checklist of “Yes or No” questions about Jesus and the Bible, and praying a prayer to “ask Jesus into your heart.” But it isn’t that simple. There is so much more to the Gospel than this! Others may think of it as someone with Bible in hand, a list of verses marked and ready to read about Jesus being our Savior, and a time frame of several hours to go through this with them. This is most definitely a good and valid way of sharing the Gospel, but often in our everyday interaction with people we don’t have that kind of opportunity. So how do we share the Gospel when we only have a few minutes of passing conversation with someone? How do you display the life of Christ in any circumstance you may find yourself in? The answer is found all throughout the New Testament: We are not only to share the Gospel with words, but with actions, attitudes, mindsets – every aspect of who we are. Jesus says in Luke 6:45, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil heart produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” And Paul says in his epistle to the Philippians, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…” It is the way in which we live our lives that will back up the words we speak.
Here are some ways we on the setapartgirl team have found we can share the Gospel through the way we live out our everyday lives.
On a warm and quiet evening last May, I browsed a small store. I had been the only client in the shop for some time and easily chatted with the woman working from time to time. Our conversation naturally progressed as I continued to the cash register and she rang up my purchase. With peaked interest, she asked about my life and work, and I briefly told her about my work with in a Christian ministry for women. I hadn’t realized it, but apparently in our interactions throughout my time in the store, she had sensed something about me and was trying to figure me out. It was as though her mind finally “clicked” as she emphatically replied, “You work in ministry, that’s why you’re radiant!”
As I left the store and walked back to my car in the parking lot, I contemplated the interaction I’d just had. Through a browse in a store and a brief conversation, I was intrigued at the way God had worked through my life. I knew that the radiance that this woman saw was not my own or even because of my “work in ministry,” but that it was His radiance she saw. This expereince left me hungering for even greater revelations of Jesus through my life. Though I didn’t outrightly preach the Gospel to the store clerk that day, she had sensed something about my life that was different in my life through our interactions. And through my simple yielded life, the light of Jesus had shone.
Through this experience, I was brought to a greater awareness of the reality of the Scripture that says, “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (2 Cor. 2:14).
Have you remembered today? Have you reckoned afresh? Your life is not your own, you have been bought with a price! (See 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.) It is no longer you who lives, but Christ who lives in you! (See Galatians 2:20.) As we walk with the triumphant gait of Jesus Christ, His joy bellowing aloud in our hearts, His peace radiating from our faces, His words of life and love flowing from our lips. . . the Gospel is preached! Sometimes it is with straightforward sharing of God’s Truth, other times through the fragrance of Christ that we bear, without a word but with reverent lives! (See 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 and 1 Peter 3:1-4.) Through and through, what joy – what honor – what glory – to house the Life of Jesus and carry His Name in this earth and see His Kingdom come!
Just over a year ago, I was rear-ended while sitting at a stoplight. Our car was totaled, and I was pretty banged up. Just after it happened and I got out of the car, I clearly remember having two thoughts; One, “I hope my baby is okay.” (I was almost six months pregnant at the time.) And two, “I have to let the lady who hit me know she is forgiven.” Even in my very shaken state, I knew that the Lord wanted me to use this as an opportunity to display His unconditional love and forgiveness toward this woman. As she came up to me, I could tell she was very panicky, and was apologizing over and over as she tried to explain what had happened. I put my arms around her and told her I forgave her and it was ok. Throughout the course of working out the situation, I continued to reiterate this forgiveness, being very deliberate about putting my hand on her arm and looking into her eyes so she could see the genuineness of my words.
This lady ended up being the first of many we had the opportunity to display Christ to. On the way to the hospital, the paramedic asked if my husband was a minister, because he had prayed for me before I left in the ambulance. He was amazed at Judah’s quiet boldness, and he also commented on how calm I was (at first he thought it was because I might have a concussion, which made me smile). We both tried to be very intentional about thanking the medical personnel who cared for me, and maintaining a joyful attitude through it all.
In the days that followed, Judah and I talked about the platform we’d been given to be a witness as we anticipated the months ahead of sorting out insurance claims and medical bills. We determined to show patience and gratefulness to those we spoke to instead of becoming impatient or frustrated. By God’s grace, it was a time of significant growth, and has made me more aware of how I treat others on a daily basis in everyday circumstances. Sometimes that is thanking the cleaning ladies in airports or being especially kind to the flustered or grumpy store clerk. Paul says Philippians 1:27a, “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…” When we are deliberate about displaying the love, patience, and joy of Christ in situations when most would be unloving, impatient, and cross, you can be sure it won’t go unnoticed.
Imagine for a moment that everybody around you lost the ability to read. Within a second they are unable to read newspapers, recipes, emails, lyrics to Sunday worship and, most importantly, the Bible. What would those around you know about the character and nature of Jesus from just observing your life? If you were the only sermon they ever read again, what would they understand of the Gospel? Or, to put it another way, if your life was a sermon, what would people hear?
The Bible says that we always need to be ready to give an answer to everyone that asks us a reason for the hope within us ( 1 Pe. 3:15). I think we should often ask ourselves, “Am I living in a way to make them ask?” When we choose patience over losing our temper, forgiveness over bitterness, peace over anxiety and faith over fear, our actions will open the door for us to share the Gospel with our words. Our words and actions go hand-in-hand and the one needs to reinforce the other to most effectively share the glorious Gospel of Christ.
We often think of sharing the Gospel to the masses, and overlook those God has placed within our very near range. As a new mother, I have often been challenged by the thought of what my little girl will understand of the Gospel by my example to her. Am I teaching her, doing laundry, washing dishes, cooking meals etc. all in a way that adorns the Gospel? As a student, is your college or school work of a nature that showcases the life of Christ? As a daughter, could your parents articulate what Christ’s life and death accomplished just through witnessing your life and hearing your words? It cannot be stressed enough, words and actions must be intermingled. A person that preaches Christ and fails to live Christ is a hypocrite, and a person that tries to live out Christ without boldly standing for Him at every opportunity is a coward.
In our quiet moments alone, those we share with our friends and in the company of family, may we always be mindful of the opportunity to showcase Christ and share the Gospel, both in word and in deed.