The first time I shared my faith was a nightmare. Palms sweating, hands shaking, and with my voice caught in my throat, I vomited out the gospel as fast I possibly could.
"Well, I'm an atheist, so I think that's stupid," he laughed. My 16-year old, already-insecure person shriveled under his confident, adult smirk.
As he ranted a long list of bereavements against the notion of a Deity, I prayed the ground would just swallow me up. I didn't have any answers. I had only known Jesus a short time. This was humiliating. He laughed at me. I'm never doing this again.
The lie set in. "I can't tell other people about Jesus because I don't know enough." I spent the next few years trying to find all the answers for any possible objection. All I found were more questions.
Nineteen years later, I find myself miraculously on my thirteenth year of staff with the largest evangelical ministry in the world. Nineteen years later, I train college women in how to share their faith. Nineteen years later, I can still feel the paralyzing fear rise up in me when I approach somebody about the Gospel.
What has kept me from bolting away in terror? Simply Jesus and the Truth I find in John 1:35-52.
Philip was a brand new believer. With very little knowledge, he ran to find and tell Nathanael about Jesus. Notice that Philip was urgent and intentional. He didn't just share with whoever was most convenient or yell it out on the streets. He ran to find Nathanael and tell him.
Nathanael scoffed at him, "Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?" This didn't stop Philip. "Come and see for yourself," he simply responded and then brought Nathanael to Jesus.
I love this part of the passage because it addresses two of my greatest fears in evangelism and that of my students: lack of knowledge and rejection.
Philip just met Jesus. All he knew was that Jesus was the Messiah whom was prophesied about in the Law and Prophets. His lack of knowledge didn't stop him from telling others about Jesus. His faith and joy in Christ surpassed his lack of knowledge.
Nathanael scoffs at Philip and yet that doesn't stop Philip either. He doesn't become offended or angrily try to debate Nathanael. He simply takes Nathanael to Jesus and lets Him prove Himself to Nathanael. And guess what? Nathanael surrenders his life to Christ!
Philip is a great example of how we should approach evangelism: with humble boldness, faith, and concern for the audience over ourselves. So what if we don't have all the answers? God is bigger than all of our question marks. So what if someone laughs in my face? Their need to hear the Gospel is greater than my need for another's acceptance.
Lord, help me be like Philip and share the Gospel with humble boldness. Let my faith take over my fears of rejection. Help me to love others lavishly and simply take them to You and let You prove Yourself. I don't have to argue. I don't have to debate. Help me to simply trust You to be Who You are.