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April 25, 2015

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5 Ways to Exercise Discernment when Sharing God’s Word

by Dave Malnes

Sharing God’s Word has a way of striking fear in the heart of almost every believer. One way to combat those fears is learning how to exercise spiritual discernment.

In the clamor of life, the muted call to confess our faith – the muffled command to proclaim the gospel – has a difficult time reaching the ears of well-intentioned Christians. The temporal can easily overshadow the eternal. Excuses are given without much thought to compensate for our guilt of staying silent.

Our world today can no longer afford silent Christians.

To help overcome fears of sharing the true gospel of Jesus Christ…,

evangelismHere are five ways to exercise spiritual discernment:
1. Involve God and directly ask for help.
2. Understand the spiritual element of faith and unbelief.
3. Stop, listen and observe the world around us.
4. Be gospel intentional in everything we do and say.
5. Understand the role of being God’s ambassador.

#1 Sharing God’s Word is not a solo activity. 

It starts by fully understanding that being a witness is not about us. We involve God in the process because He is the process. Ask for His help. Confess our fears. Admit our guilt. Acknowledge our weakness and ask God for strength. This means regularly going to God through His Word and be devoted to prayer.

Proclaiming the gospel does not rest on our abilities, preparation, or gifts, but rests in Christ and His promises. Our desire, opportunities, and strength all comes from the Holy Spirit. When Christians discern the hand of God, the pressure to proclaim goes away and instead, we receive joy, confidence, and the sense of privilege of being God’s messenger.

Kim2-wm#2 Sharing God’s Word is a spiritual activity.

The business of a believer is to share the Good News. The business of God is to work the miracle of faith. Only God can bring to life a soul that is spiritually dead. Only the Holy Spirit can soften the stony heart of unbelief.

If sharing God’s Word is a spiritual work, then how can we claim responsibility for its success or failure? Furthermore, there is a spiritual element of evil that desires all people to stay spiritually dead. Christians exercise discernment by realizing the spiritual element of faith and unbelief.

3. Sharing God’s Word embraces listening and observing

Many Christians believe that sharing our faith is all about our tongue. But there is something else that is just as important. A believer can be attuned to opportunities to share the gospel by taking the time of listening, asking questions, and observing. Exercising spiritual discernment means learning how to engage each person is their own unique circumstance and how God may already be preparing them to hear the gospel.

Conversation4. Sharing God’s Word means being gospel intentional.

Imagine what the world looks like in the context of belief and unbelief. The things of the world pale in comparison to the eternal. The urgency and the reality of the consequences of sin rises in importance. The desire to be a rescuer overshadows the ingrained need to stay on the shore. A believer exercises spiritual discernment by asking the Lord to be in the game of winning souls.

5. Sharing God’s Word means having the willingness to sow seeds.

A believer exercises spiritual discernment by taking joy in the sowing of the gospel seeds. They beckon the Lord’s call and embraces His promise that the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few. We never know when the harvest is ready – but recognize the importance of planting the seeds.

sharing-your-faithQuite often, the fears of sharing the gospel with others is exposed by being unrealistic. We fear how people may respond negatively. We don’t like to be portrayed as fools. We don’t want to risk relationships. Too often, we make pre-judgements on how a person responds that prohibits us from even sharing God’s Word in the first place.

By exercising spiritual discernment, a Christian will have a bigger picture of the spiritual process of coming to faith. They begin to recognize their role. And finally, they readily acknowledge that it’s all about the work of the Holy Spirit and not about themselves.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. BN_TX
    Apr 25 2015

    I am struck by Ephesians 6:19, 20. Paul, at the end of his ministry, is still asking for prayers so that he might witness boldly. If he needed that at the close of his ministry, how much more do I need it every day?

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  2. Apr 25 2015

    Very true. The Apostle Paul — considered the greatest missionary — knew his weaknesses and his timidity. Yet, in his weakness, in Christ he received strength. It’s the same formula for us. Thanks for the comment.

    Like

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