Getting In The Habit of Gospel Conversations
It always hits me five minutes after I leave. Are you the same way?
Frantically, I run into the grocery store. With two earbuds in place, I block out the world as I listen to a new album. Passively smiling at the clerk, I wipe down the grocery cart as I proceed to grab what I need for dinner tonight. I speed past dozens of people on my way to the frozen food section. Next, I roll my eyes as I maneuver my cart through the obstacle course of souls blocking my way. Finally, I edge out a family to the self-checkout lane, and then off to my car.
After five minutes in my car, I realize all the chances I missed to encourage someone to take their next step toward Jesus. Is there anything wrong with listening to music or self-checkout? No way! If you’re anything like me though, we can use good things to distract us from opportunities for gospel conversations.
The rhythms of our life will influence our faithfulness to share the gospel. A proactive approach to evangelism means that we prayerfully seek opportunities to share the gospel. Too often, I am reactive to opportunities and will miss chances to share. Establishing daily habits can help you leverage interactions for the sake of the gospel.
Listen. Watch. When walking your dog or meandering around the mall, consider those around you. In our society, speed and busyness are often thought of as signs of worth and strength. If in Christ, our worth is hidden in Him, and He is our source of strength.
Consider when you have felt most loved or cared for by someone. Were they in a hurry? How many tasks did it appear that they had to do?
Listen to understand, not respond
I am often an impatient listener. When someone is talking, I listen enough to create a response, then tap my foot until I respond. I don’t seek to understand them. Instead of fixating on my answer, I can seek genuine connection by finding common ground or learning about their interests. Information is a means to connection but cannot be the end goal.
Have you ever felt ignored even though someone was listening to you? How did it make you feel?
Pray at all times
Eugene Peterson says in his book Working the Angles that, “… prayer is never the first word; it is always the second word. God has the primary word. Prayer is answering speech; it is not primarily ‘address’ but ‘response.'”
As you slow your day down, respond to God by talking to Him about what he has placed before you (2 Thessalonians 5:17). For example, thank him for the new leaves on your plant or your breakfast meal. Invite Him into your fears about sharing your faith with your family member. In short, respond to God throughout your day. Then, when you find yourself with an opportunity to share, you won’t have to start a conversation with Him but simply continue with the same one.
How can you place reminders around your day to pray? What can you prayerfully respond to right now?
As you seek to live a lifestyle like Jesus for Jesus, these actions can help you see the people around you. Then, as you see them, prayerfully proclaim the gospel to them with boldness and grace.
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