Struggling with evangelism? Don't lose heart!
On Saturday our training director, Craig Dyer, came to London to deliver some Christianity Explored training for local churches. We spent the first part of the morning thinking about God’s role and our role in evangelism.
Evangelism is hard! It often feels uncomfortable and awkward, and we worry about being rejected, looking stupid or not being able to answer people’s questions. We may have seen little fruit from our efforts to share the gospel so far or been burned by someone’s reaction to it the past. Maybe we’re tempted to give up on it altogether.
2 Corinthians 4:1-7 gives us a straight answer as to why we find it so difficult: the god of this world has blinded the minds of non-Christians (v4). They can’t see the gospel as the truth, no matter what we say, because it’s veiled to them (v3).
But this passage is here so that we do not lose heart (v1) in the seemingly daunting task of presenting the good news of Jesus to the 'spiritually blind'.
In our training session, Craig drew our attention to three interacting aspects in this passage:
What a relief it is to read that the ‘surpassing power’ in evangelism ‘belongs to God and not to us’ (v7).
We are reminded that it is God who shines into hearts ‘to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’ (v6).
Curing spiritual blindness is something that only God can do. It’s a great comfort to know that the results are dependent on the Lord and not on us.
This means that the next time you think “if only I’d been more eloquent” or “I wish I’d had more time to explain” after a conversation where you've attempted to share your faith, you can put your mind at rest, trusting that the power was never in your words in the first place. And you can ask God that he would use that conversation for his glory.
It would be a mistake to think that because it is God’s work to open blind eyes that we can go home and put our feet up.
Far from that! The Christian’s role is to continue to openly state the truth to those around us (v2) because we know that God is able to shine the light of the gospel into anyone's heart, just as he did for us (v6).
So we present God’s word with integrity. We want to say what He says; no manipulating or changing what has been written, or in disgraceful, underhanded or cunning ways.
And as we tell the gospel straightforwardly, though we don’t know how those we are sharing it with are going to react, we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in God’s sight (v2).
We do this because we know the predicament is urgent (people are perishing, v3) and that God has the power to open blind eyes.
‘For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord’ (v5)
Jesus is the centre of the gospel. As we present this truth to the people around us, we mustn’t forget that it is all about Jesus and not about us.
We are described as ‘servants for Jesus’ sake’ (v5) and ‘jars of clay’ (v7) and remembering our small part in God’s big plan is both humbling and encouraging.
Humbling because we can contribute so little, yet encouraging because God has chosen to involve us in this very great work.
Yes, evangelism feels difficult. But 2 Corinthians 4.1-7 cheers us on to continue winsomely telling the plain but glorious truth of the gospel to the people around us, trusting that God is in charge of the results and feeling the very real privilege that he chooses to use these jars of clay in the process.
Looking for a tool to help introduce your friends to Jesus?
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