Thursday, November 8, 2012

Using Jesus Focused Statements in Evangelism

In my previous post we discussed the importance of avoiding the “I versus you” syndrome (read that post here). As we continue that discussion in this post, we should point out that when we share our own faith journeys, one way to avoid displaying an I versus you attitude is to keep the focus on Jesus and how He changed us instead of on how we helped ourselves through willpower or positive thinking.

Many people who do not consider themselves to be Christians still have a deep respect for Jesus. Therefore, they are interested in what Jesus did in our lives. Staying focused on Jesus is also more biblical. Jesus said in John 12:32, “As for Me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to Myself ” (HCSB). If we want people to come to Jesus, we need to lift up Jesus by focusing our discussions on Him. Though we may be sharing real stories of how Christ changed our lives, the focus will remain on Jesus, not on us.

Here is an example of a self-focused statement:

“I was unfaithful to my wife on a number of occasions. I wanted to save my marriage, so I looked deep inside myself and saw a lot of attitudes I did not like. I began to work on those issues. I now have a much better relationship with my wife.”

Notice how often the word I is used and how God does not get any of the credit for the speaker’s improved relationship with his wife? It gives the impression that the speaker did it all on his own.

A Jesus-focused statement might be something like this:

“I was unfaithful to my wife on a number of occasions. The Lord began to deal with me about how He might help me save my marriage. Jesus began to show me a lot of stu that was buried deep within me that had never been dealt with. As the Lord began to deal with each of these issues, my relationship with my wife greatly improved.”

This statement describes the same situation, but in this version, the Lord receives the credit for making the dierence. In the first kind of statement, the speaker is taking the credit for himself. But if we were honest, we would have to admit that the second example is more realistic. We should give the Lord credit for doing His work in our lives. It is important when we are witnessing to share our journey of faith by focusing on how Jesus has helped us.

Adapted from Dr. Dorsett’s book, Mission Possible: Reaching the Next Generation through the Small Church, published by CrossBooks, a division of Lifeway Christian Resources.

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