Monday, January 8

Effective Evangelism

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing you have in Christ. --Philemon 6 (NIV)

It has been said that one of the most effective ways to learn something more completely is to teach it to someone else. This is particularly true for me as I have engaged in many theological and spiritual discussions with people over the years. One of the things that used to scare me about letting people know that I am a Christian was the thought of having to answer questions regarding my beliefs. How could I explain something to others when I was just beginning to understand it myself? As a result I was very passive with my faith, preferring to be simply labeled by me peers as a "church girl" instead of a evangelical Christian. I had firm convictions but failed to push my faith in the faces of others, so to speak.

Philemon was a man who had been converted to Christianity as a result of Paul's teaching. He was a likely a wealthy man, and prominent in the region of Colossae. Perhaps Philemon was afraid of being what would happen to his status is people knew he was a Christian. I suspect he may have had an attitude of complacency, like I did, which explains why the apostle Paul encouraged him to be active in sharing his faith.

Although a relationship with God is a deeply personal thing, it is not God's plan that anyone should be without it. People who already have a professed faith in Christ are duty bound to share what they know about God with others. As my own relationship with Christ grew and I grew better equipped to talk about Christianity with unbelievers, I knew I could no longer be a passive witness. I came to the realization that making disciples of all nations, as commanded by Jesus, was not going to happen so long as I was just sitting at home reading my Bible or riding around listening to worship music in my car.

I had to trust God to lead me outside my comfort zone so that I could bear witness to others of the truth of God's Word. By being active in my faith and sharing what I know with others, my own faith is strengthen. I am no longer afraid of being asked to defend my faith. I don't shy away from challenging questions about Christianity. God continues to teach me as he uses me; he opens my eyes to the good things I have in Christ, and that gives me more things to share with others!

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