How to Talk with Others about Spiritual Matters
January 1, 2021
“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32).
Suppose you are somewhere with a group of men or women from church, and one of them begins talking about Jesus Christ. What is your reaction? Can you join in the conversation, or do you get an uncomfortable feeling in your stomach and wish that the conversation would soon change subjects?
I think if we’re honest, most of us are very uncomfortable talking about Jesus. In fact, I think we’re so uncomfortable that we come up with reasons why it is better not to talk about our faith at all.
Yes, it is true that the Bible says that our lifestyle must be a good example to others. Jesus was very straightforward with those hypocrites who loved to be seen and heard, but did not “walk the talk.” But with all that, did Jesus ever say that we should not talk about our faith in Him? Just because Jesus condemned the actions of the hypocrites does not mean that He ever said Christians should keep their mouths shut. In fact, we have far more examples of people sharing their faith with words, than we do of people being a witness by their actions.
Simply put, words are necessary so people can hear. People need to know why we are what we are and why we do what we do. They need to hear so they can trust Jesus Christ for salvation, and so we can help them with life’s most difficult problems.
Here are just a few out of many Bible verses talking about the importance of words:
“Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works” (Psalm 105:2).
“What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops” (Matthew 10:27).
“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10).
I am blessed to have parents who are willing to talk about their faith in Jesus Christ. My wife and I have been able to participate in Bible study groups in which we learned to talk about scripture and pray for each other. Yet, I still sometimes find myself lacking the boldness needed to talk about spiritual matters with some people. Why is that? The most important Person to me (Jesus) is the one thing I should be most excited to talk about. I can talk about work, weather, politics, and almost anything else. Yet, about the Savior of the world, I am sometimes ashamed. Why?
Sinners and righteous people both need to sit down and talk, in a loving and understanding way, about the most important things of life and eternity. If we need to talk about work in order to do a good job, how much more do we need to invest time talking to each other about the love of God in order to remain encouraged in the faith?
You may say, “That is what sermons are for.” Don't get me wrong, scripture makes it clear that sermons are important. At the same time though, I have discovered that people often have questions despite hearing sermons. In fact, I have heard of people going to church all their life, and at the end of their life not knowing if they are going to go to heaven. Meaning, they know that the way to heaven is through Jesus Christ, but they do not personally know where they are at with the Lord, are still fearful of hell, and confess to not knowing Christ as their personal savior (and worse, do not know what to do to be saved). This is worth every uncomfortable effort needed to begin talking more about the Lord Jesus Christ. As you begin talking with people, you will also learn that many are struggling with sin and do not know how to overcome. They need to have someone to talk to who loves and cares for them, as we often need ourselves.
It is never easy to start, but we need to start somewhere. Our flesh and the devil recoil at the name of Jesus, but if we are to be overcomers, we must begin despite the resistance. Here are several things that I have found which help me:
Scripture reading. We need to know what we are talking about, and nothing helps more than regular, personal reading of the Bible in the language we understand best.
Prayer. Prayer concerning day to day activities and for people that I am with makes a big difference. We serve a real God who hears and answers prayer.
It takes time. I can't expect to become good at spiritual conversations quickly and without practice. So start small, pray much, and watch for opportunities to talk with others.
At home. It’s best to start at home, with your wife and children. In my house, we read the Bible, talk about what the words mean, and pray together.
Bible studies. Bible studies are an enjoyable way to learn to talk, and at the same time, to learn more about what the Bible says. I've learned that the Bible is not written in some sort of code, but that the words mean what they say. Plus, Bible studies are scriptural, see Acts 5:46 as an example.
“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
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