1 Peter 3:15-16 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
I quote this with considerable frequency, and with good reason. This expresses the attitude, the method, and the result of the most effective form of personal evangelism. It all starts with the Lordship of Jesus Christ. If He isn’t genuinely your Lord, then your faith is self-centered – what will I get out of it – and actually in question. However, if you are indeed living under the Lordship of Christ, you will have a hope that will buoy you up in any situation, and people will take notice. The world can be a pretty hopeless place at times, and people can’t live without hope. The more your life demonstrates the hope that you have, the more people are going to desire it for themselves. Ideally, they will ask you about it, and that is your big opportunity. However, your presentation of the Gospel must not be proud or holier-than-thou. You’ve got to remember that you too are hopeless without Christ. If you will do that, then your righteousness will be evident, and those who indulged in name-calling (which certainly happens) will be embarrassed. And of course, the big benefit is that those who heard your Gospel presentation are very likely to receive it for themselves, and be born again as your brother or sister in Christ.
I have experienced all of this, but that last step not nearly as frequently as I would have liked. The devil has convinced the majority of Japanese that all religions are the same, so if they are more earnest in Buddhism, for example, they will get the results they see me getting. Also, they are very hesitant to ask personal questions, so I don’t get many specific requests to explain my faith and hope. I can see they want to know, however, and I seek God’s wisdom for how to present it to people. Just yesterday we were talking with two ladies who admire Cathy and me greatly, but they can’t seem to grasp that our religion is fundamentally different from theirs. I think they ended up closer to faith than when the day began, but they aren’t to the point of commitment yet, so we keep praying. Much the same may be said of many of the people with whom I interact on a regular basis. I don’t know what the specific barrier is, and I don’t know what will be the trigger to tear that down, but I do know that when it happens, there will be a massive harvest in the Kingdom!
Father, I do thank You for all You did yesterday in the hearts of those ladies, even using Cathy and me in the process. I do pray that You would expose and dissolve the barriers that remain, so that they would receive Your gracious salvation and go on to share it with others, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!