Is it always a good idea to evangelise?
Sometimes it's wise to take a break.
At the end of Matthew, just before he ascended to heaven, Jesus spoke to his disciples and said this:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19)
This is a command not just to those disciples, but to all of us who follow Jesus. We aren’t meant to keep our faith to ourselves - we must share it with others and encourage them to trust in Jesus the way we do.
Easier said than done, right?
Sometimes evangelism (telling people about Jesus in the hope that they will put their faith in him) can be a real challenge. Sometimes, for some people in some places, it can be downright dangerous. So you might wonder, is it always a good idea to evangelise?
The answer to this question is somewhat complicated. Let’s dive in.
Anything for Jesus
In Luke 9:24, Jesus tells his disciples, “whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” This is an encouragement to them not to place too much importance on their lives and personal safety, but to be willing to give up anything for Jesus.
We, too, are encouraged to give up all of our lives for Christ. For some people, that will mean saying no to certain careers. For others it will mean being willing to die for the gospel.
Wait… does Jesus really want me to die?
Short answer, yes. He demands your whole life just as he gave his for you.
Long answer… Jesus wants you to be willing to sacrifice for him, but he also loves and cares about you and wants you to be safe and protected, particularly as you’re only young.
Let’s bring it closer to home
In all likelihood, you or I will never face the type of backlash for evangelising that will lead to our deaths. So is there any reason we should stop sharing our faith in the contexts of our high schools, universities, friendship groups or workplaces?
I think there are a few situations when it might be best to take a break from speaking about Jesus.
You have been rejected multiple times
No one is out of God’s reach, but if you’ve sought to talk about Jesus with your friends over and over and they keep rejecting you, it may be time to take a break. This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, you don’t want to shove Christianity down their throats and cause them to resent you. Secondly, you want to leave the door open for conversations in the future, and if you ruin a friendship that won’t work out.
Your friends just want to argue
Some people will consistently bring up the issue of religion as it relates to various things happening in our world just to pick a fight. Learn to recognise when your friends have genuine questions and when they just want to argue with you (tip: arguments are often on social media!). Obviously God can speak through every argument, but it can also be extremely tiring and unmotivating to have the same arguments again and again. Tell your friends you’re done fighting for a while but you’d love to speak to them about the gospel and any questions they have if they’re keen.
You’re placed in an unsafe situation
As noted above, Christians must be willing to give up their lives for Christ. But we must also be wise and sensible about this! If someone threatens you for sharing your faith, you may want to prayerfully consider taking a break and keeping yourself safe. And please, share this with a trusted adult!
Just a break!
Note that in all these situations, it may be wise to stop evangelising for a time, but definitely not forever! After a while you may be able to start those conversations again without the risk of driving away your friends, getting caught in unfruitful arguments or being placed in an unsafe situation.
While you’re taking a break, don’t forget that your life and actions may speak just as loudly as your words! Continue to live faithfully for Jesus and his light will shine through you. And pray for your friends. Prayer is powerful and God will open doors.
Have you ever needed to take a break from evangelism for a while?
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