How to Turn a Conversation Toward Christ
Over the years, people have told me that one of the most helpful pieces of advice I have given them is how to turn a conversation to spiritual things. It involves the principle of freeing up your mind, instead of freezing up your thinking.
When this principle is employed, believers begin to recognize there is no standard way to turn a conversation to spiritual things, but instead there are as many ways as there are people to whom you speak. They suddenly see that they can enjoy conversations and pursue myriad ways to turn conversations to spiritual things as they discuss a person’s family, job, and background.
Here are three ways to bring this principle to life in your next conversation.
Prepare for the best, not the worst
One way we freeze up our thinking is to prepare for a negative outcome before a conversation even begins. You imagine the person will be offended you brought up the subject, make it very clear you are not the friend they thought you were, ask you to never address spiritual things again, and may even suggest that the sooner you leave their presence the better. Immediately you are fearful and discouraged. Can I tell you something? In more than 47 years of evangelism, I could count on one hand the amount of times this has happened.
Why not free up your mind to consider the opposite? After all, there are a lot of people interested in spiritual things, especially in 2020 when people are often fearful, worried, and insecure about the future. I have found the oft-quoted notion that “people don’t like to talk about spiritual things” to be a myth over and over again.
Keep this in mind as well. God is more concerned about others than you are – even those you love most. He loves to go ahead of you, preparing the hearts and lives of people to whom you will have the opportunity to speak. Luke 19:10 tells us, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” He delights in using you as an instrument to accomplish His purpose. One reason that gifted evangelists are so bold is that they know the person who does not want to talk about spiritual things is more the exception than the norm. They prepare for the best not the worst because they have good reason to. You can, too.
Remember that people respond differently
People are at different stages of spiritual readiness. With some, you will be the 14th of 55 people God is going to use to bring a person to Christ. With others you may be the 8th of 25. Of course, it is always exciting when you are the 19th of 19.
Now think about it. If you are the 21st of 22 people God is going to use, that person will be so eager to respond; it will be as we commonly say, like “fruit falling from a tree.” But if you are the 2nd of 22, that individual will most likely be much more hesitant to go too far down the path of a spiritual conversation. Just recognizing that people are at different stages of readiness allows you to free up your mind and better understand what is happening. It often has nothing to do with what you say or how you say it, it is simply where they are in their readiness to receive the gospel.
Freeing up your mind allows you to take encouragement and comfort in the words of Christ as they are found in John 4:35-37. “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps’.”
If you are someone God is using to do the sowing, enjoy it! If you are someone God is using to do the reaping, enjoy it! Free up your mind by recognizing that there will be different responses because they are at different places in their spiritual journey.
Recognize your job is contact; His job is conversion
Nowhere in the Bible are we ever told to bring others to Christ. Freeing up your mind allows you to approach a conversation with the realization that you can only bring Christ to them, but only God can bring them to Christ. Jesus plainly said in John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” As I often tell people, our job is the presentation and His job is the persuasion.
Think of how that helps you in turning a conversation to spiritual things. As we talk with someone, we can rest easy if God does not have us there to bring that person across the line to faith; He may have someone else in mind for that. Freeing up our mind in that way allows us to do all we can to encourage him in the right direction.
That is why no effort in evangelism goes unrewarded. I Corinthians 4:2 reminds us, “Moreover it is required among stewards that one be found faithful.” Notice the word is “faithful” not “fruitful.” That puts the pressure where it needs to be – our faithfulness, not our fruitfulness. Free up your mind and recognize that as you talk, you can be used of God to encourage someone in the right direction. Should he or she not come to Christ, you are not a “failure” but a success because you have still been used of God in his or her life. You are responsible for the conversation; God is responsible for the conversion.
A final word
Like many things in life, learning how to turn a conversation begins with what goes through your mind, not merely what comes through your mouth. Freezing up your mind by preparing for the worst or only accepting certain outcomes puts you in a regimented frame of thinking that does not give you the freedom to explore, watch expressions and listen carefully to words. Thinking right frees up the dynamic mind God has given you to seek the Holy Spirit’s direction in your conversation. It also allows you to think Biblically and not put undue pressure upon your shoulders that God never designed you to carry.
Wherever God takes you this week, wherever you meet a person who needs the Lord, and whatever opportunity God gives you, remember the thing that will help you the most in turning a conversation to spiritual things – free up your mind, don’t freeze up your thinking.
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