But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. 1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV)
When it comes to our involvement in Evangelism, where do we begin? I believe that the Apostle Peter gives us some great insight and wisdom in answer to this question. In a compound sentence Peter gives us three important ideas that should be helpful. The first idea deals with the nature of our relationship with God. The second idea deals with our preparation in being able to articulate our faith. And lastly, the third idea speaks about the attitude we should have when engaging in evangelistic activities. Let's take a closer look at these ideas.
"Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts." What does this mean? It means that you are creating a sanctuary in your heart for God. This is a protected place where faith in God is unwavering--a place where your relationship with God is deep, ongoing and active--a place where God has the final say in your life--a place that is set aside for the purposes of God. Effective evangelism flows from a heart that is unshakable in its faith and where that faith is continually demonstrated in the actions of living.
"Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you." You do not need to attend a Seminary before you engage in evangelism, but let me be honest, the more Bible knowledge you have; the more time that you spend contemplating the answers to the kind of questions that non-believers are likely to ask; the more you understand, "why you believe what you believe;" the more effort you make to understand your own faith... (Did that run on long enough?) The more prepared you will be when it comes time to articulate your faith. Be encouraged with this thought: The Holy Spirit will be with you as you share your faith. He will guide your words and inspire you as you engage in evangelistic activity.
Talk about your faith with an attitude of "meekness and fear." A more contemporary way of expressing this idea would be: Engage in evangelism with a "humble attitude;" Not as a prideful person with all the answers. Jesus, who was God in the flesh, engaged people with a humility that allowed Him to speak into their lives. We also need to engage in evangelism "carefully." Always remember that an eternal soul is in the balance and the words and attitudes that you express count! Are you ready? Get ready and see what God can do!
Author's Note: I often hear other Christians articulating how difficult it is to share their faith in the context of this Post-Modern culture. "OK, I agree...it's not always easy." That said--the harvest is still plentiful! We are all literally surrounded by thousands of people who have a heart ready to receive some good news, and the best "Good News" ever, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Share naturally. Share with real compassion. Share at every opportunity. Be a laborer in an amazing and abundant harvest! RJ