I love Jesus, and I love talking to people about Jesus. I always have. But I’ve definitely made some mistakes in how I tell non-Christians about Him. So, I’m going to confess some of these mistakes—and what God has taught me through them.
Often, I would spend a lot of time and energy trying to get people to believe in particular theological stances rather than the gospel. I would try to argue people into believing in a literal six-day creation (a position not all Christians agree on) instead of telling them about Jesus’s incredible love for them, and the miracle of His death and resurrection. I would try to convince them of the benefits and importance of waiting to have sex until marriage instead of talking about Jesus’s forgiveness, grace, and mercy. I would try to correct a person’s behavior instead of introducing them to the One who could heal their hearts. And perhaps worst of all, I would push for political stances instead of welcoming people into the good news of the kingdom of God.
Friends, this didn’t work. At all. I pray that the Holy Spirit used these conversations, in spite of my mistakes, to draw people to Himself. But let’s not waste our energy expecting non-Christians to think and act like Christians. Conversations about creation, sex, and politics have an important place in our lives—especially when we listen well and seek to understand different perspectives—but let’s not confuse these conversations with the gospel.
For me, learning this truth meant letting go of control and accepting that I cannot fix people, and I cannot change hearts. Only Jesus can do that. And when I try to change people myself, I’m trying to take over for the Holy Spirit and do God’s job myself. Only God can bring people to faith. I had to repent of my desire for control and accept my limits as a human being. As I’m learning to accept this truth, I’m growing in my ability to talk about Jesus in a way that flows from the joy and peace I’ve found in Him, rather than from a fear-filled, self-righteous desire to control people.
Jesus is amazing. The gospel is incredible. When we let the truth of God’s love for us and the hope of Jesus’s resurrection permeate our lives and our hearts, we can show people what the gospel looks like. And that is more powerful than any argument. • Taylor Eising
• How has the hope of the gospel affected your life? What are some ways you could share this?
Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Colossians 4:5 (NLT)