How Can I Share the Gospel When I Feel Like a Hypocrite?
“How can I share my faith when I feel guilty about my own struggles in the Christian life – when I feel like a hypocrite?”
Whenever I get asked this question, my first reaction is to say, “Congratulations! You started at the right place.”
When Nathan the prophet confronted David about his sin with Bathsheba, David took comfort in the fact that, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). God can do wonders in and through us when we admit that we are not the people He wants us to be and with His help are willing to change.
I’d like to offer the following biblically based counsel, and I hope and pray it is an encouragement to you.
Honesty about where we are honors the Lord and enables Him to help us.
Nowhere does the Bible ever say that God will not hear the prayer of a person who acknowledges the sin in his heart and life. Instead, it is those who will not admit such sin that He does not promise to help. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.”
With that in mind, we can come to Him, acknowledge the hypocritical life we have lived and ask for His forgiveness. That honest confession of our waywardness is all God needs to change us and enable us to be used by Him.
Perfect people do not share the gospel, only sinners do.
Satan loves to say to conscientious believers, “What right do you have to share Christ? Look at your life…” Then he points out the various places where our spiritual walk is lacking.
If you wait until your life is what it ought to be, you will probably never share the gospel. Who of us on any given day would say that our lives have been everything He wanted them to be?
In fact, we would enhance our spiritual walk every day by saying with the psalmist, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Unbelievers are not turned off by Christians whose lives are perfect, but by Christians who act like they are.
Non-Christians have more common sense than we credit them for having. I have been in evangelism for fifty years. I personally have not met one non-Christian who, when being approached with the gospel, expected the one approaching him to be a model Christian. We sometimes do not give unbelievers the credit they deserve for having common sense. On the other hand, I have met unbelievers who were offended because the believers who approached them acted like they were perfect Christians.
We make a mistake when we share the gospel if we do not admit our own waywardness. They need to know that we are included in Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, everyone, to his own way…”
Few things are more winsome to an unbeliever than when we share our own brokenness about our own sin and our gratitude for His forgiveness.
It does not take two days to get things right with the Lord; it takes closer to two minutes.
The importance of living a life that honors the Lord cannot be overstated. The life we live can affect the impact of our witness, our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s leading, and even the impact of our prayers as we talk to God at the same time we are talking to them. In fact, Scripture tells us, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” (Psalm 66:18)
At the same time, as we have opportunities to evangelize it does not take hours or days to get our hearts right with Him. As I approach one who has not met the Lord, I can ask God for His forgiveness of things in my heart and life that are not right with Him and ask Him to use me. It is a brokenness of heart that God honors.
If you present the gospel clearly, you are not presenting a perfect Christian. Instead, you are presenting a perfect Savior.
The gospel does not center on what you have done for Him. It centers entirely on what He has done for you on the cross. We deserve eternal separation from God. But Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus Christ, as our substitute, took the punishment for sin we deserved, died in our place, and rose on the third day victorious over sin and the devil. God the Father, being satisfied with what His Son did and the payment He made for our sins, can now forgive us of our sins and give us completely free the gift of eternal life. We receive that gift by simply trusting Christ alone as our only way to heaven. The promise the Bible makes is, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” (John 6:47)
When we present the gospel clearly, we are presenting Christ as the perfect Savior, not ourselves as perfect Christians. We are simply sinners saved by His grace and substitutionary death on the cross.
So, how can you present the gospel when you feel like a hypocrite?
It is not where you are at that matters. It is the direction in which you are headed. Take these five ideas, make them part of your life, and utter a simple prayer, “Use me as a sinner saved by grace to tell people about you, my perfect Savior.”
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