Lambok, a Climbing For Christ Indonesia member, witnesses to Sunda people in a rice field in West Java by lending a hand. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
We’re going to look at a few points that relate to sharing our faith with followers of Islam in the coming week. We’ll look at some of the possible barriers that can make it extremely difficult for an individual who has been raised in a Muslim culture to trust in Jesus as their Savior. In addition, we’ll take a look at some of the potential bridges that can be used to lead a follower of Islam to become a follower of Jesus.
But first, let’s begin with an honest assessment of our own hearts. Do we have any doubt in the truth of the Bible? Do we have any shame in the Gospel? Do we have any fear of how a person may respond to our witness? Do we have any anger in our heart toward our Muslim neighbors, in general, or in regard to a specific group or nationality?
If we’re honest with ourselves, we can struggle with all of those things at different times in our lives. We can have moments of doubt; moments when we’re ashamed or embarrassed of the Good News of Jesus; moments when we fear the response of people we may have opportunity to share with; moments when we become angry and bitter because of the latest story we watch unfold on the news.
- Let’s take a brief moment now and pray that our hearts would be made right before God. Where there is doubt may He replace it with greater faith. Where there is fear, may He replace it with greater courage. Where there is shame, may He replace it with greater boldness. Where there is anger, may He replace it with greater love.
Let’s be honest once more: Sharing our faith with someone can be really intimidating for a number of reasons. This is especially true when it comes to people of another faith we may not feel completely familiar with (not to mention huge differences in language, culture and worldview that may be present).
You and I don’t need to be intimidated – ever.
We’re never going to know it all or have all of the answers, and that’s OK. There is no perfect plan or method of evangelism, and that’s OK, too. As much as I’d love it if Jesus laid out a precise formula for us to follow when it comes to evangelism, it seems He intentionally did not do that. He had different ways of communicating with people, ministering to people, healing people, and so on. Every encounter we see detailed in the Bible seemed to be fresh and unique. I suppose that’s largely because every situation and every person is unique – and God’s heart is for every unique individual.
Furthermore, God’s heart certainly isn’t that we’d check off a series of points on a list to evangelize our family, friends and neighbors. But Jesus did leave us with some pretty clear instructions.
In Mark 16:15, Jesus commands His followers to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” We have an obligation to open our mouths and speak, letting the Good News that has so blessed our hearts, flow out over our lips and into the ears of others. Why? Because as we find in Romans 10:17, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
It’s been said, “Share the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words.” Now, I totally understand the idea behind this quote and love the idea of living our lives as an example of love and compassion and godliness, but I’m not really a big fan. Although living our lives that way may indeed open a door to a conversation with a lost person, they will not receive the Gospel through osmosis.
Words are always necessary. The Good News must be spoken, so that it can be heard, so that it can be believed!
And BE witnesses
That said, our outward actions are incredibly important. Not only did Jesus tell us to “go into all the world and preach,” (i.e. open our mouths) but He also called us to BE His witnesses.
In Acts 1:8 we once more read the words of Jesus: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Yes, a witness must testify, but I think it’s interesting that Jesus doesn’t simply say “and you shall witness about Me.” Rather, He says, “you shall BE witnesses to Me.” Being is different than doing.
Sadly, many people today “witness” about Jesus without first BEING a good witness. Witness is not only something we do, it’s something we are. It’s not only something we should do. More importantly, it’s something we should be. Before we open our mouths to testify of God’s grace and goodness, we should be living lives that demonstrate it to the world. May we be witnesses whose lives represent and reflect Jesus as well as our words will.
- Take another moment and pray for God to lead and bless to not only witness well, but to BE a good witness, too. May we have hearts that live fully in the truth and love and grace of the Gospel so that we could share it in word and deed.