The greatest form of advertisement in the entire world is word of mouth. When we really love someone or something, naturally, we just want to share about it. If we get a new car, a new tablet, or new shoes that we’re excited about, we can’t wait to tell our friends!
So why is it, as Christians, we’re not sharing our faith very often?
If each one of us has experienced God’s unconditional love that has the power to change and break addictions and help us make radical life changes, then shouldn’t we want the same for the people in our life?
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5:17, 20)
God has called each of us to share His love with others. We’re to be Christ’s ambassadors -- the bridge between His unconditional and steadfast love and the people that we know.
Yet, historically, in America, only 1 out of 10 Christians actively, intentionally and regularly share the love of God with others.
I believe it’s because we mistakenly think there’s only one “right” way to share our faith. But the Bible doesn’t give us just a single way.
There are actually six “spiritual love languages,” or unique styles to communicate God’s love to others.
These six styles are natural and normal ways we can share our faith that also fit our personality and spiritual gifts that God has given us.
The direct approach. (Acts 2) Unfortunately, the direct approach has been sold as “the way” to share your faith. But not everyone has been made to do it this way. People who use this approach usually have a bold personality and have a spiritual gift of evangelism. They are able to clearly and directly communicate the gospel to people, even those they don’t personally know.
We see an example of this in Acts 2 when Peter steps up and does what he never dreams he could do. He begins to preach and as a result, 3,000 people come to Christ.
Testimonial approach. (John 9) People who like to share how God has changed their life use this approach. They’re able to share their honest struggles and are willing to be vulnerable because they want to share what God did for them personally.
In John 9, Jesus heals a blind man, and afterward, the man goes and tells everyone what Jesus has done for him. He becomes a powerful witness for Christ. Similarly, your testimony is also powerful -- and irrefutable. No one can tell you that you haven’t had the experiences that you’ve had.
Inter-personal approach. (Luke 5:29) This is similar to the testimonial approach, but it’s for those who naturally build long-term relationships with people. These people tend to have the gift of hospitality and enjoy gathering in groups and building relationships with others.
We see this in Luke 5:29 where Matthew, a tax collector, comes to know Christ. Shortly after, he wants others to know Jesus’ love, too. So what does he do? Not only does he pay back those from whom he had stolen money, but he also invites a bunch of his friends (more tax collectors and sinners) over for dinner, along with Jesus.
Service approach. (Acts 9) These are people who express their faith and love for people by meeting needs. They don’t need credit, and they don’t seek the limelight. They do things like feeding the poor, and providing clean drinking water around the world. They love to care for and meet people’s needs.
Invitational approach. (John 4) We see this approach in John 4 where we learn about a Samaritan woman who is a socially alienated person with deep shame. One day, Jesus comes and tells her there’s grace available for her. She accepts his forgiveness and tells everyone in her village, inviting them to hear Jesus’ words for themselves.
Remember, people who respect how we live will respond to what we say because of our relationship with them. They’re just waiting for our invitation! So invite them to church or join your small group.
Creative arts approach. (1 Cor. 10:31) People who use this approach cultivate their ability in music, art, drama, sports, and even in business to give glory to God. They use their gifts and skills as a means to express and communicate the gospel in a culturally relevant manner.
So how about you? Which of these spiritual love languages might you be able to use to be a bridge to others?
This week, we're beginning the series Share the Love. In it, we'll learn how to move from being a "secret agent" Christian to a "public" witness as we develop the heart, skills, and perspective to naturally share Christ. It's my hope and prayer that at the end of our time together, we'll not only learn how to share our faith, but we will also put it into action.
Keep Pressin' Ahead,
Chip Ingram, Teaching Pastor
Living on the Edge