The Joy of Church Connection for Young Believers Day 5: Reaching Beyond Our Walls
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15, ESV)
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5, ESV)
For much of this study, I have predominantly talked about relationships with other Christians through friendship, mentoring, and encouragement. For this study, I want to remind each of us of the importance of building relationships with those who aren’t Christians—those we meet through school, work, sports, and other areas of our lives.
I’m guilty of falling into the trap of pouring my energies into relationships with those from my church and letting the ones outside of it remain at the surface level. It’s a wonderful thing to invest time and effort into relationships with others from our church, but we should also be mindful of being examples and sources of truth for those we come into contact with who don’t worship with us. We are meant to be a “light of the world,” but we can’t do that if we only surround ourselves with people who are exactly like us. Often, we like to stay in our comfort zone, surrounded by people who generally believe the same things we do, have the same convictions, and lead similar lives. Time with Christian friends is wonderful, but we’ve got to remember that our goal is not to remain comfortable but to lead souls to Christ.
It can be intimidating to ask questions about what someone believes, or to get asked a question about my beliefs. I know that I would always get extremely nervous that they would ask me some deep theological question that I couldn’t hope to answer. If you’ve had the same fears, just know that you don’t have to know the answer to a question you’re asked, and I think it’s perfectly fine to do more research before giving a definite answer. I also encourage you to pray before having these conversations; it will not only ease your nerves, but God promises to give wisdom to those who ask (James 1:5). What better person to ask for wisdom than the Maker and Creator of all things?
I’ve heard different messages and podcasts on this topic, and a common suggestion is to be prepared for these conversations, not only through prayer but also by preparing in His Word. It’s okay to be stumped by a specific question and then come back later with more information, but it’s also important to be well-versed in the basics of our doctrine and what we believe from Scripture. We should have verses ready to share if someone is asking how to be saved, who God is, and why they should trust Him. There are verses that are simple to commit to memory, but if you struggle with that (sometimes the nerves cause me to forget), we can keep a note on our phone with passages that can be helpful in these conversations. We know His Word is “living” and “active” (Hebrews 4:12), and His Word can speak to the lost in ways we can’t.
I heard a convicting quote about the possibility of our testimony being the one opportunity in someone’s life for them to hear the Gospel. What if in that window of time I blew it and made that person want to have nothing to do with Christianity? It’s a heavy thought, but it’s a reminder that each action we take and every word we speak matter in light of eternity. Let us remember this truth each day and choose to be lights for Christ in a world of evil and darkness. Instead of being like everyone around us, let’s be people who are noticeably different in a way that honors the One who created us. Let’s never give those who might not be Christians an excuse to not be interested because of our character or attitude.
I pray that we may be Christians who make everyone we meet feel welcome. I’ve missed opportunities because I was too caught up in myself or too busy. There are missed opportunities that I will have to give an account for at the judgment seat of Christ someday. None of us can change these missed opportunities in the past, but we can choose to be faithful in the opportunities that God does present to us every day going forward. We can pray for these opportunities to share the Gospel, and when He opens the door, we can be willing to boldly and confidently share His Word.