As Christians, fear is one of the greatest possessions we have, depending on what we do with it. It can either paralyze or prostrate us. If it paralyzes us and stops us from sharing our faith, it becomes our worst weakness. If it prostrates us before the Lord, crying, “Oh God, I am so scared. Please help me to stand up for You,” then it becomes our strength. It makes us trust in God.
Our worst weakness then becomes our greatest strength. So always welcome fear to your doorstep, and then slam the door of faith in its face. It doesn’t need to come into your house. Just having it close at hand will make you pray.
How to beat your fear
One great key to personal witnessing is to be resolute. You have to realize that you have an incredibly important agenda, and you must determine that nothing is going to deter you. You have the mindset that you are going to seek the lost. When fear comes, you will know why, and you will know how to deal with it. Your weapon is the shield of faith, and its function is to quench all the fearful and fiery darts of the enemy.
Faith always overcomes fear. The “fear” that comes to your mind is that if you bring up the things of God, the stranger you have approached will think that you are a religious weirdo. But you know that if he dies in his sins, he will go to Hell—forever. Simply think of this reality: his worst-case scenario is the Lake of Fire; yours is that a stranger will think that you are weird. So, you must make your approach. That resolute preparation will help you fight off your fears. Your feet know where they are going because you’re prepared. If you are hoping for inspiration without preparation, you may just end up with perspiration.
Therefore, prepare for where you are going to take the conversation. You will greet the person with a warm and courteous smile, and hand them a Gospel tract. They are bait for your hook. If you don’t have a good quality bait, you won’t even get a nibble. When you get a bite on your bait, you then have to take control. Quickly pull in the hook with a confident resolve. You know where you want to go, so steer the conversation in that direction. You can do this with practice.
It’s a warm Saturday afternoon. Long Beach Town Center is swirling with activity. I walk ahead of our group and see a couple sitting on a bench. I don’t hesitate for a moment because that will feed my fears. I have prepared. I know where I am going to go with the conversation, and that gives me comfort.
“Hello. Did you get one of these?”
They don’t answer, but they each take a Million Dollar Bill tract. That in itself is an encouragement. I add, “It’s great when you get the change.”
They don’t smile, so I ask, “Where are you from?”
The woman replies, “Indonesia.”
I’m consoled that their lack of evident response to such quality humor isn’t personal. It’s cultural.
“That’s a Gospel tract. Have you had a Christian background?”
They both say that they haven’t, so I then ask, “Do you ever think about what’s going to happen to you after you die? Will you go to Heaven? Do you think that you are good people?”
They both do, so I take them through a few of the Commandments. I ask if they have lied, stolen, blasphemed, and looked with lust. They had. They admit that they were guilty, heading for Hell.
Because there was little verbal interaction, I took them through the Gospel and their need of repentance and faith in Jesus. The woman looked at me and said, “We are Buddhists.”
I smiled and said, “That doesn’t matter. Buddhism makes no provision to wash away your sins. Only Jesus can do that.”
I thanked them for listening and moved on. I had the consolation that even though there was little interaction, they had heard the Gospel clearly and were both still holding the tracts.
Fishing in a frozen pond
I walked toward three teenagers who were sitting by a fountain. Once again, I took out three Million Dollar Bill tracts and gave a friendly, “Did you guys get one of these?” All three refused. That was unusual. So I used my old faithful: “Check the other side.” Curiosity almost always got a change of mind from someone who initially refused to take the tract. But that didn’t work. They totally ignored my words. It’s frustrating when fish don’t bite, especially when you are using proven bait.
I pointed at the card and said, “That’s a Gospel tract. Have you guys had Christian backgrounds? Do you ever think about what’s going to happen to you after you die?”
I was hoping for some response, and I finally got it. One of them looked at me and earnestly said, “We...don...speak English.”
The four of us laughed, and I left. It had taken me about three minutes to figure out that the lake in which I had been trying to fish was frozen solid, and that was the reason for the cold response. I wasn’t discouraged that my icebreakers didn’t work because even seeming failures add to our experience. Besides, failures are relative.
Ignoring your fear
My final Long Beach evangelism session happened when I saw another three teenagers heading my way. Hopefully they spoke English. I resolutely stepped in front of them and said, “Did you guys get a tract?” They grabbed one each.
“Those are Gospel tracts. Do you have Christian backgrounds?” They were Catholics. I ignored issues about Mary, the pope, confession, purgatory, transubstantiation, etc. Instead, I told them that 150,000 people die every 24 hours and that there was nothing more important than their eternal salvation. Afterwards they were upbeat and seemed to appreciate my concern for them.
The Bible says that our fight is against dark and sinister demonic forces (Ephesians 6:12). The area of the enemy’s attack is our mind. In a sense we are like unconverted ex-alcoholics. They never see themselves as being free from the disease. Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. It is healthy to think like that because it makes them recognize their weakness. They have to understand that they will have a daily battle with the temptation to drink alcohol until the moment they die.
That’s how you and I have to battle the temptation to be paranoid about seeking the lost: daily.
Ray Comfort is the Founder and CEO of Living Waters and the bestselling author of more than 80 books, including God Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life, How to Know God Exists, and The Evidence Bible. He cohosts the award-winning television program "Way of the Master," seen in almost 200 countries, and is the Executive Producer of "180," "Evolution vs. God," "Audacity," and other films. He is married to Sue and has three grown children, and hasn't left the house without gospel tracts for decades. You can learn more about his ministry at LivingWaters.com.