September 4, 2012
By Will Graham
Are you ready for the uncomfortable part? You, my friends, are also called to be evangelists. Just because your last name isn’t Graham doesn’t mean that you get a “free pass” on offering the hope that you have to your friends and loved ones.
While you may not preach in front of hundreds or thousands, you should still be able to put into action the words of 1 Peter 3:15: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” (NIV)
There is an often quoted saying by St. Francis of Assisi that reads, “Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary use words.” I appreciate what St. Francis was saying. His desire was that people not just preach, but live what they are preaching. He also said, “It is no use walking anywhere to preach, unless our walking is our preaching.”
Unfortunately, I think many of us hide behind the mentality of “lifestyle evangelism.” We timidly think that if we live a good enough life, people will see our faith and will, in turn, make a decision for Christ.
On some level, that may be true. We are supposed to live in a way that the light and love of Christ shines through us. We want others to realize there is something different about us. But our calling to fulfill the Great Commission doesn’t end there.
In Romans 10:17, it is written, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God.” (emphasis added; NKJV) Notice that the verse doesn’t say faith comes through a friend being a really nice guy. It doesn’t say faith comes from a positive transaction with a local businessman. It says “faith comes from hearing” – not showing.
What would you say right now if a friend called you and asked why you believe in Jesus? Do you have the words to say, and the verses to back it up? Further, do you have the heart of an evangelist in you; one that breaks for the lost souls around you who are dying without the hope of Christ?
That is your calling. We are all called to be evangelists. Are you willing to spend the time in prayer and in the Word so that when those opportunities arise, you’ll be ready?
Yes, we should behave in a way that opens the door to conversations about our faith. Our actions should affirm our love for Christ and not be a stumbling block for others. But, on top of that, my friends, “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”