I’m working my way through Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing your Christian Convictions, by Gregory Koukl. In his second chapter, “Reservations,” he made a couple of comments that help take the pressure off feeling like I need to lead each person I speak with to accept Christ on the spot.
In one section, he writes,
We are not in this alone. Yes, each of us has an important role to play, but all the pressure is on the Lord. Sharing the gospel is our task, but it’s God’s problem.
I like to call this principle “100% God and 100% man.” I am wholly responsible for my side of the ledger, and God is entirely responsible for his. I focus on being faithful, but I trust God to be effective. Some will respond, and some will not. The results are his concern, not mine. This lifts a tremendous burden from my shoulders.
When I was a young Christian, the wife of my mentor gave me some solid advice from John 10. In this chapter Jesus uses a “figure of speech” (v.6) to describe the work of the Holy Spirit drawing someone to Christ. “My sheep hear My voice,” Jesus said. “I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish” (John 10:27-28).
This has very practical application for evangelism because it helps explain something you might have encountered in conversations with others. Have you ever noticed that sometimes your comments seem to fall on deaf ears, yet at other times they seem profitable?
“When I share my faith,” Kathy told me, “I pay attention to how the ‘sheep’ respond. Most will keep on eating grass. But once in a while you’ll notice that some lift their heads. There is a moment of recognition as they ‘hear’ the Shepherd’s ‘voice’.”
Kathy understood that it was Jesus’ job to change the heart. Since she was confident the Holy Spirit was going before her, she was simply looking for people who were looking for her, so to speak. She was looking for those already hungry for the gospel, those whose hearts were already being softened by the Spirit. Those were the people she spent her time on. She left the rest alone.
In another section, Koukl adds,
It may surprise you to hear this, but I never set out to convert anyone. My aim is never to win someone to Christ. I have a more modest goal, one you might consider adopting as your own. All I want to do is put a stone in someone’s shoe. I want to give him something worth thinking about, something he can’t ignore because it continues to poke at him in a good way.
Taking both of these quotes into consideration makes sharing one’s faith more natural and certainly less pressure filled.