As you know, sharing your faith in Jesus is not an easy thing. It takes wisdom. It requires courage and care, confidence and concern. But the Bible is very clear – you have been commanded to share your faith (Matthew 28:18-20); you have been given the Holy Spirit so that you can share your faith with power (Acts 1:8); and if you don’t share your faith people won’t be saved (Romans 10:11-15). So why don’t people share their faith? There are many reasons, but here are seven reasons that Christians muzzle themselves instead of sharing the good news of Jesus:
- Our Stupid Sin
Don’t you hate sin? Sin gets in the way of everything! It is so hard to share your faith in Jesus when your witness is compromised by sin. How can you witness to a co-worker when you are secretly bitter that they have the hours you asked for? How can you witness to your friends when you know that they know that you just spent hours watching Family Guy with them on Netflix? How can you share your faith with your mouth when your behaviour rejects the gospel of Christ? Sometimes the best way to start witnessing means you start by saying: “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me for _____?”
- We Forget the Gospel
The sad truth is that we all are so prone to forget the good news of Jesus. We decided to follow Jesus – we placed our trust in him. But then, by accident, we moved on. We became functional atheists. We forgot that the gospel needs to marinate us in all aspects of life. Sometimes the best way to start witnessing is to learn the gospel afresh and then revive your prayer life and your daily quiet time with God.
- We Live Inconsistent Lives
The tragedy of modernity is that it has relegated faith to ones’ private life. Consequently, we all need to do some hard thinking on what it looks like to do accounting, cleaning, lifeguarding, plumbing, nursing, Christianly. Now there is wisdom here – often it is better to invite your co-worker out for coffee than to witness to them while in your uniform. But the reality is that your Sunday morning faith must translate into your Monday morning routine. Sometimes the best way to start witnessing is to start working as if God were watching (because he is). “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…” (Colossians 3:23 ESV).
- We Fear Man
“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.” (Proverbs 29:25 ESV). How often do we keep our mouths shut about Jesus because we are afraid of being uncool? How often do we keep our mouths shut because we are people-pleasers instead of God=pleasers? Sometimes the best way to start witnessing is to forget yourself, be yourself, and fear God.
- We Have Absorbed a lot of Junk Teaching
For years I never said anything about Jesus because I believed that if I misspoke people would be turned off to God forever. That’s just bad theology. God is the one who saves. God is the one who chooses. “…when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13:48 ESV, emphasis mine). You have the responsibility to speak up – but only God will convict the unbeliever and call her to himself. Sometimes the best way to start witnessing is to rest in the truth that the pressure you place on yourself is not yours to bear.
- We Never Rub Shoulders with Non-Christians
You probably have Christian friends. You probably have Christian family members. You maybe even have multiple Christian events you go to every week. You need to interact with some unbelievers. Sometimes the best way to start witnessing is to say no to that church invite and go to that staff get-together instead.
- We Assume our Message will be Rejected
Often before we have even opened our mouths, we automatically assume that the people to whom we speak will reject our message. So we muzzle ourselves. But how do you know if someone has ever heard of Jesus? How do you know if they are interested in Christ unless you say something? Get to know how people think and what they believe. Are they Buddhist? Mormon? Atheistic? Agnostic? “Spiritual but not religious”? Sometimes the best way to start witnessing is to just take a risk, and ask some questions.
Sharing your faith is like learning to walk or write. It’s a life skill that takes time, practice, and wisdom. So don’t give up. God will bless you efforts. And, by the way, your success is guaranteed: “And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd” (John 10:16).