It’s that time of the year—where Christmas decorations are out in full force and you’re armed with invites to your church’s Christmas service—hoping this would be the year your friends (or family) will finally come to know Jesus.
While evangelizing might come easily for some people, there are those of us who might need a little bit more help.
So, to help you extend that invitation to your friends this year as naturally as possible, here are three things to keep in mind:
Be a friend first, and an evangelist second
We get it, you don’t want to be that pushy Christian friend who begins each conversation with “Do you want to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?”
And that’s okay. Jesus Himself never did so either (that would have been pretty strange). But He did dine with tax collectors (Mark 2:15-17). And He never got offended when the rich young ruler decided he didn’t want to follow Him (Mark 10:17-22).
So you don’t have to get offended on His behalf if your friend isn’t ready to follow Jesus either.
You’re not hanging out with your friends to get them “saved”. You’re there because you genuinely care about them and what they may be going through. Be the friend who loves through all kinds of weather (see Prov. 17:17 MSG)—not just when things are going well, but especially when things are rough.
For the loved one who might be struggling in their marriage, with addictions, with challenges, can we be the kind of friend who shows them a God who loves them without expectations—even before the situations in their lives have changed?
Your life is what God can use to draw others closer to Him
You’ve probably heard it said that the church is not for perfect people. So why is it that we sometimes think our job is to show everyone that being a Christian means every moment of our life looks and feels Insta-worthy?
But can we say that it is often not our accomplishments that draw our friends to our Savior, but how God’s grace is real in our weaknesses and struggles?
Here’s what the apostle Paul so artfully describes,
“But we have this precious treasure [the good news about salvation] in [unworthy] earthen vessels [of human frailty], so that the grandeur and surpassing greatness of the power will be [shown to be] from God [His sufficiency] and not from ourselves.”
(2 Cor. 4:7 AMP)
It is in our weaknesses that the Lord’s goodness and strength are most apparent: How God lifts our spirits in the midst of what looks to others like tragedy. How we carry ourselves with quiet confidence in the face of unfairness. How we respond with grace in situations that would warrant indignation.
You don’t have to paint an unrealistic picture of perfection or show your friends a set of rules that they have to keep up with in order to be the perfect Christian. But you can show them that there’s Someone greater who anchors you where others would have crumbled, and it is simply through living loved—the way God always intended us to—that others will also be drawn to what we have too.
Because the truth is…
It’s not your responsibility to save anyone
Sometimes we put the pressure on ourselves to get our friends saved, but the truth is, the bumper sticker reads: JESUS SAVES, not <insert your own name here>.
It is the Lord who can soften the heart of man. Proverbs 19:21 reads: ‘You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.’
While it might be tempting to feel guilty if our friends aren’t ready to receive Jesus, it is also important to remember that it is not our ability to convince people that Jesus is good that gets them saved.
Instead, we can simply be the doorway of invitation to our friends, living a life that might seem to them so unnaturally (but in truth, is supernaturally) strengthened by the Holy Spirit in the midst of difficulty.
If there’s someone on your heart whom you know needs Jesus today, may your prayer be this: that the Lord will give you the right opportunity, time and place to speak to them, that their hearts will be open to a loving Savior, that your life will be a testimony of His goodness, and that their first encounter with Jesus will be of a God who embraces them in their mess with no expectation that they have to get their act together in order to be forgiven.
This Christmas, we‘re praying and believing with you that even as you gather the courage to share Jesus with your friends, their hearts will be open and softened to receive Him.