Shares 5 Tips on Reaching Your Friends for Christ
by Tracy Darlington
Joy to the World : Joy Williams Shares 5 Tips On Reaching Your Friends
Although Joy Williams has received five Dove Award nominations, and CCM readers even voted her “Best New Artist” she insists, “Hardly anything is more exhilarating than watching someone you know come to a realization of Jesus and seeing them grow in a relationship with Him. It goes beyond words!” Joy’s all about reaching out and sharing God’s love in whatever life we’re living. Here are her 5 ways you can be a light in your world:
Pray earnestly for your friends who don't know Christ, that they might begin to grow curious and intrigued about a personal relationship with Jesus. I ask God to draw them to Himself. The Spirit of God is what brings people to Him, so I ask for Christ to awaken the curiosity in my loved one's soul. I pray for ways I can bless them every day and extend Jesus to them in our friendship. I also pray that I won't take it upon myself to "save them" in a hurried frenzy, but that I would trust God to give me the courage and discernment of knowing when to share.
Pray for patience and for wisdom from Upstairs. Look around you, as well. Perhaps there’s someone you know who is gifted in sharing their faith. Talk to them, ask them questions, and get some advice.
Make it a point to live out your faith. Let your friends see a difference in the way you process life, love people, communicate with others, and tackle struggles. Whether you’re at church or in the hallways after class, ask God for wisdom to let your faith show in your actions and speech no matter where you are.
Don’t shy away from people who are different than you. Try to meet them where they are. Don’t judge them, condemn them, or leave them hanging out to dry. Be real. And stay away from being gossipy, because it always comes back around in the end.
LOOK FOR IT
Watch for opportunities and see if you and your friend are at a point in your relationship to go a little deeper. If so, it might be a good time to start engaging them about what they believe, what their purpose is, and if they believe in God.
I’ve had a friend for years who isn’t a Christian. I love on her, let her know I'm praying for her when she's going through a hard time, and answer questions about Jesus when she asks. But she doesn’t seem to want God in her life. She has yet to make a decision. But I know God is doing something beautiful within her. Every once in awhile she will bust out with these huge questions like, "Why is what Jesus did on the cross so much more important than, say, what Buddha taught?" I’m waiting on God to continually keep me faithful and patient with this person I cherish so much, and for wisdom so I can answer questions when she asks them. I desire for her to know this messy life can be so much richer with Jesus in it, but I can’t rush (nor should I rush) what God is doing in her heart. I continue to pray for my friend, and that's all I can do . . . trust God with her.
Be careful and respectful when sharing your faith with people who don’t know Him. Ramming the Gospel down someone's throat will never win someone to Christ. I have to admit, I was lucky to have been raised in a family of faith. But my friends who've come to know Christ on their own have wrestled at home. They had to learn to be patient and prayerful to stay in that environment without additional tension. While there will be large differences between you and your parents or family if they don’t believe, the thing to do is to love them and respect them the very best you know how. Find a mentor who might've gone through a similar experience at home. You should never have to feel alone in this, though there might be moments of loneliness at your house.
God is with you, no matter where you go. Don’t use judgement or "hell, fire, and brimstone" to scare your family or friends into a relationship with Jesus. While sin is something that separates us from the Lord, the magnitude and beauty of Christ's sacrifice on the cross is what brings us back. And part of living out what you believe is respecting yourself. Even clothes come into play here. Our bodies are beautiful, but should not be on display for every Joe-Schmoe to take a peek at.
DON’T BE A KNOW-IT-ALL
Allow people the freedom to ask questions. If they throw you a curveball, tell them you’ll look into that question. You don’t have to have all the answers. You can research the Bible, talk to your pastor or mentor, and get back to them. Talking to them about Jesus will more than likely not be a one time thing. I tend to spend a lot of time just loving them, being real in the friendship, and praying for them. Sounds extremely practical, but I believe God wants us to first extend His love to people before we have the right to talk to them about our faith.
It's rad that you TitleTrakk.com readers want to share your faith with your friends. There’s no need to be shy about what Christ has done in your life. And don't get tricked by the myth of “I don't have a story to tell” if you came to faith early in life. God is working on all of us everyday, and it's awesome to share that with someone when you see that spark of curiosity in their eyes. Be relevant and real in living out your faith, and let God do the rest!
Tracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.