When Jesus gave the Great Commission, He asked His followers to “go and make disciples of all nations” (see Matthew 28:16-20). As followers of Christ, this is still true for us today. Telling others that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life makes our faith in Him stronger and leads us to the rich and satisfying life He promises us. But it doesn’t come without challenges.
I recently spoke about how to tackle these challenges at Alive Church in part one of the Engage Your World series. Based on Paul’s experiences in Athens, briefly chronicled in Acts 17:16-33, these three tips can help you show Jesus’ love while speaking with those in your life who need Him most.
- Avoid Dead-Ends — This means not engaging in conversations that will only lead to “agree to disagree” arguments, which won’t help others know Jesus. When Paul first comes to Athens, he is “deeply troubled” by the idols of their gods (Acts 17:16). He knew polytheism was wrong, but he knew that lecturing the Athenians on their false beliefs wasn’t the way to introduce them to Christ.
- Focus on What’s Helpful— Paul didn’t want to attack the Athenians for their polytheistic beliefs. He wanted to help them know Jesus. He happened to see an idol dedicated to “an unknown God,” and Paul knew he could help them know who God was (Acts 17:22-23). Like Paul, try to find areas where a person you know really needs Jesus’ help.
- Stay on Message — When you’re surrounded by people with different viewpoints and arguments against Jesus, it’s easy to get sidetracked into dead-end conversations. In Acts 17:30-31, Paul tells the Athenians directly to “repent of their sins and turn to [God].” This is where memorizing simple, poignant verses like John 14:6, John 3:16and Ephesians 2:8comes in handy.
Which tip will you apply to better engage your world about Jesus? Remember that after Jesus told the disciples to “go,” He said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Ask God to be with you as you show the love of Jesus to those around you – you’ll be surprised how much courage He’ll give you to stand out!