Sharing the faith with those that are uninformed is never an easy task, but why does it seem to be even more challenging when it comes to those nearest and dearest to you? and how can you approach this in a loving God-honoring way? Here are 4 ways in which I strive to witness to my unbelieving loved ones:
1) Pray for them
Pray for the members of your family who don’t know the Lord. Every battle that we fight must start in the secret place. As his precious daughters we have unlimited access to His throne, and so we can tell him our requests and desires with the assurance that he hears us.
(1 John 5:14) This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
You may already have things, both personal and general on your prayer list, but here are some effective prayer points I always fall back on.
- hardened stony hearts to become a hearts of flesh
- opportunities to be able to share the gospel message
- healing from their past memories and bad experiences of religion
- mercy and pardon for their unbelief and sin
Be bold and confident with your prayers.
He truly cares about the desires of your heart and the things that cause you pain and discomfort, so approach him with boldness and be consistent in your prayers.
(Matthew 7:7) Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
2) Talk to them
This sounds pretty obvious..but I’m convinced that you could do better in this respect. It is good for us to separate ourselves from unbelievers and not be unequally yoked, however, this doesn’t mean we should ignore, neglect or disengage ourselves completely from their company!
Remember that you were once in the world too, and it is only by the grace of God that you have your eyes opened to the truth..extend this same mercy to them also. Strike up meaningful conversations with them that extend further than simply “how was your day” or “what are your plans for the weekend”.
Be intentional and strategic.
Give them a reason to question their atheism or current belief system and be open to listening to their viewpoint and exploring their ideas about life. Be aware that conversations may get heated because issues about faith speak to the very core of our humanity, so try your best to abstain from using judgmental language or phrases that lead to strife. At all costs, and as much as it is possible, avoid arguments, tension and quarreling. This behavior doesn’t honor God and only accomplishes the work of Satan to further divide and destroy.
(1 Peter 3:15-16) In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
Another way you can be intentional in your conversation is by being very open and transparent about what you are going through. Seize the opportunities you get to share with them what God has done in your life past and present, and how it’s changing you. Your words are your witness, so use them wisely!
3) Serve them
Servanthood is crucial. It is the very image of Jesus Christ portrayed in scripture and describes what he came to accomplish on earth. His life was a service to us and all of mankind. If we strive to mirror this attitude in our relationships with others, we will undoubtedly point them towards Him.
(Mark 10:45) For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
This is where you may need to get creative and attentive. Find opportunities to help them out with work, home life or any major hobbies or projects they are engaging in. This is also a great way to help to restore and improve your relationship with each other as it gives you more of an active role in their lives. By serving them and working alongside them, you are being an example and showing them in practice how the God you serve directs your lifestyle and decisions.
4) Wait on God.
It may not happen immediately. It may take months, or years for your loved one to come to the saving knowledge of Christ. But this is where you must trust in the faithfulness and omniscience of God. God is not withholding salvation from your loved one, in fact just like you are doing, he is patiently waiting for them to turn in repentance to him so he can extend his hand of mercy.
(2 Peter 3:9) The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
This season of waiting has a purpose and will accomplish a work in you of strengthening your faith and making you a better witness of Christ. While you wait, be of good courage and allow God to strengthen your heart.