By Meredith Cook
My husband and I were looking for a doughnut shop en route from Houston to Dallas. Doughnut shops are a dime a dozen in Houston, so we chose one that was closest to our route.
What we didn’t realize was although this place looked like every other local shop in the city, inside it held the holy grail of breakfast treats: the breakfast egg roll. Suffice it to say no other breakfast item holds a candle to this one. It’s a good thing this shop is almost an hour from where we live.
The distance doesn’t stop us from telling all of our friends about it, though. If we know someone is traveling north, we make sure to tell them to stop there. We’ve talked about this place enough now that our friends are familiar with it, even if they haven’t experienced it themselves.
While this may sound like a funny anecdote about an insignificant matter, it leaves me feeling a bit convicted. It’s so easy for me to tell others about this doughnut shop I like—with exuberance, no less—but when it comes to speaking to others about Jesus, I’m much less forthcoming.
And so I wonder, what if I spoke to others with as much excitement about Jesus as I do about the breakfast egg roll?
A Weightier Conversation
To speak about Jesus and to speak about a silly food item are two very different matters.
When I tell my friends to visit the doughnut shop, I don’t have anything invested in whether or not they go. I’m not concerned if they decide they don’t like the breakfast egg roll. There’s very little at stake in that conversation.
It’s a much weightier matter to speak of Jesus. Our entire lives hinge on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Believer and nonbeliever alike, what we believe about Jesus is literally a matter of eternal life or eternal death.
And that conversation is entirely different from the conversation about what we had for breakfast. There’s much more at stake, and I’m invested in the response.
Evaluating Our Affections
It may seem as if I’m over-spiritualizing by comparing how I speak about breakfast to how I speak about Jesus, but it’s beneficial to take time to evaluate our affections—to consider the reasons why we may not be as excited to speak about Jesus to others.
This is not to make ourselves feel guilty. As believers, we’ve been freed through Christ from the condemnation of our sin. Our motivation to speak about Jesus comes from Him, not from guilt.
With this in mind, we can examine the barriers we face in speaking about Jesus and, through His strength, seek to overcome them.
Resetting Our Minds
One of my biggest temptations is compartmentalizing the time I spend in God’s Word and prayer in the mornings from the rest of my day. When that time is over, I go about my day without actively meditating on what I read and without continuing to pray.
Compartmentalizing my quiet time from the rest of my day leads to complacency, which is not a fertile ground for excitement about Jesus.
Scripture tells us to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). This requires active, daily dwelling on the Lord and what He’s done for us through Christ.
We look through the lens of our salvation and cultivate a sense of awe and gratitude at all God has done, is doing, and will do for us.
Speak to Other Believers About Jesus
Take a minute and consider the conversations you have with other believers. How much do you talk about Jesus with them? It should be a no-brainer; after all, the most important thing we have in common is our salvation.
I admit, however, that when I really think about it, Jesus doesn’t come up in my conversations with believers as often as He should.
I have a handful of friends with whom I talk freely about the Lord. We speak truth into each others’ lives and speak Jesus’ name regularly. But that seems to be the exception rather than the norm.
The bottom line is this: if we can’t—or don’t—talk about Jesus with our believing friends and family, then we certainly won’t be able to talk about Him with nonbelievers.
Make a habit of talking about and celebrating Jesus with other believers. This is most easily done through corporate worship, but it shouldn’t be confined to that. It should happen throughout the week.
Ask other believers what they’re learning about the Lord. Encourage each other as you grow in your love for Christ together.
Speak to Nonbelievers About Jesus
Growing in our love and excitement about Jesus should make it easier to speak to nonbelievers about Him. If Jesus is the most important person in our lives, He should be someone we naturally talk to others about, just as we would any other important detail in our life.
While we shouldn’t make projects out of people, it also doesn’t have to be weird to talk to others about Jesus. In fact, people may find us less genuine if they find out we’re withholding a vitally important aspect of our lives from them.
So pray for opportunities to talk to your non-believing friends about Jesus.
MEREDITH COOK (@meredithcook716) is the wife of Keelan, an editor for IMB.org, and an M.Div graduate in Missiology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.