Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)
Why do (or should) we share our Christian faith? What compelling reason motivates us to share the Gospel with unbelievers? Aside from a direct command by Jesus Himself, why should we witness to others by sharing Scripture from God’s Word as well as what He has done in our lives? Isn’t that too high pressure?
Even typing those questions seemed sacrilegious. My initial reaction was, “Of course, every Christian should share his or her faith with others! We’re supposed to. After all, how would we have heard if someone hadn’t shared the Gospel’s good news with us?” The Bible plainly states faith comes by hearing the Word of God and hearing it comes from someone sharing it (Romans 10:17). How will others hear if we don’t share it?
But doesn’t that approach feel a bit too mandated or obligatory? It sounds like a club rule that each member-in-good-standing must follow to attract more club members. It’s almost like a “have to” duty.
What I’ve found to be true is that obedient human behavior is usually compelled by three motivators: have to – based on obligation or duty, ought to – based on obedience or what we know we should do, and want to – based on sheer love for the task or the one asking for it to be done. Of course, the greatest of these is love.
Different Methods, One Motive
May I tell you about Jesus?”
Some people love to share the story of Jesus. The apostle John, also called the Beloved, was compelled by love for Jesus. His Gospel and Epistles overflow with love and encouraging descriptions of loving behavior. He gave us John 3:16 and also his exuberant response, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1).
“May I share what God has done for me?”
Some people love to tell their own story – what God has done in their lives. The healed blind man who washed in the Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem (John 9) couldn’t stop his grateful heart from sharing what Jesus had done for him. Not only did Christ heal him physically, He also regenerated him spiritually – and he eagerly shared what God had done for him.
“I know Someone who loves you!”
Some people love bringing people to Jesus. Andrew, one of the first disciples, was a people-bringer. Several times in Scripture we find him bringing people to Jesus. He brought his brother, Peter (John 1:41-42); the little boy with the lunch to feed the five thousand (John 6:8-9); and the group of Greeks who wanted to see Jesus (John 12:20-22). An introduction to Jesus begins the journey of a personal relationship with Him.
“How does an eternity with God in heaven sound to you?”
Some people love sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to build or enhance His future kingdom. With minds set on eternity, they are storing up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-20) while also adding to the number of the redeemed who are a part of that future kingdom. Matthew’s gospel mentions the kingdom of heaven thirty-two times.
“I want to please my Lord and Savior”
Still others love sharing their faith in Jesus in anticipation of hearing Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21, 23). The apostle Paul pursued this vision his entire life. As his execution drew near, he wrote Timothy, “The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight … finished the race … kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
Hopefully, as believers who love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we can move beyond “have to” and “ought to” and share our faith because we “want to” out of sheer love for what he has done for us. Whoever has been forgiven much, loves much (Luke 7:47). May love be our distinctive characteristic (John 13:35) as we boldly, freely, and faithfully share our faith.