How to Tell The Truth: Common Objections and Obstacles to Sharing Our Faith
Sharing the gospel is a normal part of what it means to be a Christian. Yet for many of us, it’s one of the most stressful things we do — if we do it at all! It can be nerve-wracking, especially if we’re not clear about our responsibilities.
The gospel is a message from God given to us through men who were inspired by God. From the beginning, we have played a part in getting His message to others.
The same is true today.
THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE WE FACE: IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK
The biggest obstacle we face when approaching others with the gospel is not rejection or persecution; instead, it’s knowing what we are actually responsible for when we share our faith.
Are we responsible to change people’s hearts? To see them repent? Is the pressure on us to make sure they understand? Here’s a principle that will help:
We are responsible for getting the message from our mouths to their ears. God is responsible for getting it from their ears to their hearts.
In other words, we are responsible for our obedience in telling others, and God is responsible for the results. When we understand that truth, it frees us from feeling the need to bear the burden of the outcome; we trust God with the outcome instead. When we recognize that God is truly in control of our message, we can rest and not worry as if everything depended upon us (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).
THE OTHER OBSTACLES
Our internal obstacle is the biggest one we have, but there are other external barriers we’ll face when sharing the gospel:
People have negative preconceptions.
It’s sometimes hard for people to talk about God. Perhaps they’ve received wrong information, drawn some premature conclusions, or had some bad experiences with Christians. All of these things are legitimate reasons for people to be cautious.
One of the best things we can do is simply to listen. Listening is powerful. Every time we listen to someone’s story, they are telling us what is most important to them.
And it’s our privilege to be invited into their story. We share their triumphs and their tragedies. We hear their hopes and fears. It’s in these places that we can build a bridge to share our own stories. Just like God has been at work in our histories, He has been at work in theirs, too.
When we share the gospel, we are sharing the ways in which God has intersected our lives with His beauty and power. Our job is to listen and then invite people to see ways in which God has been involved in their lives already, even when they didn’t know it.
When we believe that God is already at work in people, we can look for ways He has crossed their paths and show them His goodness. This is better than any counter-argument we might assemble.
People need more information.
Sometimes people aren’t ready to take their next step because they don’t have enough of the right information. Most people today are interested in spiritual things. What they lack are the necessary categories to think about God.
So, one of the things that you can do is give them books (check out the list at the end of this article), and you can also bring them to church. Grace’s preaching focuses on making the gospel clear to both believers and the unconvinced.
People are self-reliant.
Self-righteousness is something that we all can struggle with: the belief that we can make ourselves good, whole, pure, and well. “I’m ok without you. I’m ok without God. I’m fine as I am.” Even if we don’t say we believe this, we often live like we do.
For people who struggle with persistent self-righteousness,
the gospel penetrates our self-sufficiency and pride. It reveals our sins and failures. God’s goal is to strip us of our self-will so that we can be drawn into His grace.
When it comes to sharing the gospel, our job in this case is to be a mirror for our friends. When they come ask us about what we see in them, do we encourage them with pleasant lies about a perfect character? Or, do we show them how God’s grace covers their failings? One leads them to self-reliance and distance from God. The other leads them to discover their dependence on God and his gracious love.
People are afraid.
Some people are drawn to the gospel, but fear they won’t be able to live it out. It’s as if they think the weight of their salvation is dependent upon their performance.
This is a grave error. The gospel is called “good news” because the good news is that we don’t have to be perfect. Jesus lived a sinless life so when he died for us, that sinless life could be credited to our accounts. The issue of our goodness has already been settled: our rescue doesn’t depend on it. Jesus took our punishment upon Himself and gave to us His goodness on the cross so that one day we could stand before the perfect judge in Heaven and say we are here because of Jesus, not our resumé. This truth removes all fear.
People fear the cost of following Christ.
This is one of the biggest obstacles to faith. And it should be — a life following Christ should be considered seriously. The gospel is not just a piece of information to believe; the gospel makes claims upon our life. It calls us to die to our self-government. It asks us to live in relationship with God in such a way that He informs and changes all the areas of our life.
There is nothing off-limits. A relationship with God requires all of us. As we surrender more and more of ourselves, we are not losing something — we are gaining the whole weight of eternity. As He lives His life through us more and more, we are being prepared for a forever with Him where looking back on this life, the cost will seem minuscule.
Evangelism is something that’s not optional for a Christian. It’s both our duty and our delight to share the one who has given us all things in Christ Jesus. Our Father is preparing a people for Himself called to influence the world. We have the spectacular privilege of co-laboring with Christ to accomplish His purposes in this world. As we consider what we should spend our lives on, there is nothing better and more lasting than working for the happiness of God’s people for all of eternity.
This article was written by Senior Pastor Mike Adkins and was published in the Live Life Unstoppable issue of Grace Magazine.