EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) — Jesus told His disciples, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). The implication is that if we are really following, we’ll be fishing — soul-winning. Jesus’ last words were, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19). The Christians in the New Testament went everywhere, preaching the Word (Acts 8:4).
How, then, can you and I be effective witnesses for Him?
1. Ask God to give you an evangelistic burden for others. Ask Him to help you see the world as He sees it, and to lay upon your heart a handful of people for whom you can earnestly pray. Then pray over those names every day. Keep a little prayer list, and pray for an opportunity of reaching these souls for Christ. An old song says, “Lord, lay some soul upon my heart and love that soul through me; / And may I humbly do my part to win that soul to Thee.”
2. Live a consistent Christian life before these people. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world…. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). We must live obedient lives of integrity and authentic faith. We must love when others hate, and forgive when others harbor grudges. We must remain trusting when others panic, and be honest when all around us are cooking the books. Not that we’re going to be perfect — only Christ was sinless. But we must have a growing, maturing Christian life that others recognize and respect.
3. Build bridges to others. When the Lord shows you those needing Christ, seek to build a relationship with them. Remember how Jesus went to the home of Zacchaeus where many sinners had gathered? While we must be careful not to place ourselves in an environment where we’ll be pulled down, we must be equally careful to cultivate friendships with those needing Christ. Perhaps Christ has placed you in your particular school or workplace just to reach those whom no one else can reach.
4. Learn the Gospel. Memorize the following verses and practice saying them in a mirror or to another Christian: Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9, 10:10, 10:13; 1 John 5:1, 5:13.
5. Watch for openings to share a word for Christ. Peter said: “Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
6. If the right opportunity doesn’t come naturally, create one. Sometimes we wait too long, looking for just the right time to invite someone to church or to share with them the message of the Gospel. There often comes a point when we must prayerfully introduce the subject and do our best to impress someone with their need for Christ.
7. Leave the results with God. We’re responsible for sharing the Gospel, but only God can convert the soul. Having done your best, let Him do the rest. And if you ever feel you’ve botched the job, think of Edward Kimball. He was determined to win his Sunday School class to Christ, including a teenager named Dwight Moody who tended to fall asleep on Sundays. His heart pounding, Kimball entered the store where the young man worked. “I put my hand on his shoulder, and as I leaned over I placed my foot upon a shoebox. I asked him to come to Christ.” It didn’t seem to go well, and Kimball left thinking he had botched the job. Moody, however, left the store that day a new person and eventually became the most prominent evangelist in America during his generation.
Don’t underestimate how God can use you. Follow Christ, and He will make you a fisher of men.
This column has been approved by Turning Point for redistribution in Baptist state newspapers and in Townhall.com. For permission to reprint it, contact Myrna Davis at [email protected] David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).