If you've seen "Tombstone" (1993), there's no doubt Kilmer's portrayal of the historical figure Doc Holliday is seared into your brain. Not only is Val Kilmer a legend and an incredible method actor but the real life story of his character is larger than life. The historian and Old West movie buff in me wants to tell it but that's not the point of this post.
In recent months, the Holy Spirit has been impressing upon me to practice with the weapons He's given me - His Word (the gospel) and my testimony. I feel strongly to really begin to get comfortable and used to sharing my story and the gospel at a moments notice, regardless of the environment or circumstance. I am ashamed to say this has always been a struggle for me. I often freeze in the moment or get so worried that someone won't believe me, or will feel uneasy like I'm trying to force my "religion" on them. I weep at the opportunities and great honor God bestowed upon me to share my faith and the hope of our Lord with others, but I choked. I stifled the Holy Spirit in my fear and illustrated to myself how unprepared I am to do the main job we have as followers of Christ -- the Great Commission.
I know Im not alone on this and that we all tend to choke or bow out for various reasons. Maybe its fear for the reasons I mentioned above. Maybe its unresolved sin in our lives making us feel like we can't share because that would seem "hypocritical." Maybe we're just bad communicators, don't like public speaking or not great at sharing our feelings or personal stories. Regardless of our reason, we're wrong.
A 2018 poll found that over half of professing Christians don't even know what 'The Great Commission' is. Of those polled, a distressing 17 percent of those who claim to be Christians actually knew the term and what it means.
Matthew 28:18-20 is the most commonly referenced scripture for The Great Commission. It states: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” However there are countless references for this weighty command. (Here's just 99 of them.) This is the foundation of our faith and yet so few of us participate in it, like its solely reserved for street preachers, pastors and evangelists. Welp, it's not. We are all called to understand and know the gospel that saved us and how to share it with others. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes;" -Romans 1:16. THE GOSPEL IS THE POWER OF GOD TO SAVE PEOPLE. It's not us, it's not how well spoken we are or how sinless we are. It is ONLY the gospel of Jesus Christ that can pull people out of the fire and into right relationship with the Creator. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict and soften hearts to hear this gospel and accept Jesus. Nothing we do in our own strength can accomplish this. So be comforted that it's only your job to speak, and God will handle the rest.
Additionally, 1 Peter 3:15 says, "But in your hearts, revere 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." If knowing and sharing the gospel is our primary weapon, this is kinda the second pistol on your hip.
The reason for our faith, our personal salvation story and proof for why we've placed our hope in Jesus is our testimony. The gospel, plus our own testimony is like a one-two punch, or dual-wielded pistols against the attacks of the enemy. We should keep these things on us at all times (See also: sword of the Spirit and shield of faith- Ephesians 6:13-17) and readily practice our draw so we are prepared to 1) shut down any and all doubts that try to creep in, 2) silence the condemnation of the enemy and 3) share the gospel with anyone the Spirit leads us to at a moments notice to help rescue them as we were once rescued.
I could go on about this topic forever but I think you get it. Christians - followers of The Way -- get familiar and comfortable with the gospel and with your testimony. Practice sharing it as often as possible until it becomes second nature. You can practice a brief version as well for those occasions where you may not have a lot of time or a long attention span to work with. Make sure to hit the key points and know how to lead someone to Christ (sometimes called 'The Sinners' Prayer'). I'm preaching to myself here too so if anyone wants someone to practice with, "I'm your huckleberry."
If you have any questions, need prayer, or would like to hear my testimony or share your own please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below! I would love to hear from you and be encouraged on this page. God bless you!