One thing I wish I knew when I first started sharing my faith was that it’s not about you, it’s not on you, but God will work through you.
I started preaching the gospel over 12 years ago no and I can’t believe how quickly the time’s gone. It’s been such a journey and I’ve grown so much and changed a lot too. And during my journey, the most important thing I’ve realised is that sharing the gospel is not about you and neither is all the responsibility on you, however God can and will work through you.
I think so many times when I started out preaching the gospel I made it about me: how funny I was; how clear I was; did it flow well enough? Were my points catchy? Did they alliterate? Did I sound okay? How many people were there to hear me speak? How many people got saved as a result of my message? You get the point. And even though in my head I knew that God is ultimately the one who changes people, I would put the pressure on myself that if I wasn’t good enough, funny enough, catchy enough etc. It would be my fault that people didn’t get saved or didn’t grow closer to God and have their lives massively changed.
The reality is, it has never been our job to save people, yet God works with and through us to see it happen. It has never been our job to inspire, equip or convict people, yet the Holy Spirit uses our words and lives to do so. We are not needed by God, but He wants to use us to bring about His purposes and will.
God requires one thing of us: Faithfulness.
He doesn’t require us to be perfect or know it all – He just wants us to be faithful in our pursuit of Him.
So here’s what I’d want to say to me all those years ago:
1. Comparison will kill you. Don’t look at the person to your left or right and be jealous of what God is doing with them. God is working in you and at the right time he will use you. Celebrate what God is doing in you and celebrate what your brothers and sisters are doing. It’s all for Jesus.
2. Dignify the ‘room’ you’re in. If heaven parties over one person turning to Jesus, it shouldn’t matter how many we’re preaching to. Jesus didn’t die for numbers, he died for people. T.D. Jakes once said it like this, “if you can’t dignify the 40, you won’t dignify the 40,000”. Work hard, wherever you are, whatever it looks like. Jesus deserves your best.
3. “Just be you, everyone else is taken.” That’s a quote by Oscar Wilde. God made us unique. We should be who he made us to be, not try to be someone else.
4. Introduce people to Jesus. That’s where the magic happens. He heals. He convicts. He transforms. He restores. Often our role is simply to make the introduction and get out of the way; He’ll do the rest.
Now, don’t get me wrong, when it comes to sharing our faith, and particularly preaching, you absolutely have to put in the work too. However don’t forget that in the end, it doesn’t depend on you, it depends on God.
1. Are there any parts in my life where I’m working so hard I’ve taken God out the equation?
2. Comparison in life can rob us of our joy and contentment in Jesus, easily leading to jealousy or pride. Are there any parts in my life that comparison has crept in and I need to acknowledge and give over to Jesus?
3. Sharing our faith is a partnership. Whilst God doesn’t need us, he lovingly invites us into his plan. However, am I taking God up on his invite? Am I leaving the sharing the good news simply to others? Do I need to start putting in the work in my own life to step out and begin sharing my faith?
Written by Joe Braby, Prisons Worker for The Message Trust, UK