Christians are known for their efforts to evangelize, that is, to tell others about their beliefs in the hope these people will also become Christians. In fact, this is what Jesus Christ told His followers to do: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). In Acts 1:8 we read a similar command: “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
But why is this so important? Why can’t Christians just keep their faith to themselves and let others decide for themselves what they want or do not want to believe? Being a Christian myself, let me list some reasons why I want others to believe in God just as I do.
I love God
I love the Lord God because He fills me with His love (see 1 John 4:19). He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, to earth and made Him suffer and die out of love for us (see John 3:16). He has done everything for me. Therefore, I want Him to receive the honor He deserves. It makes me sad when people deny God’s existence or serve other gods. It grieves me when people are deceived into not believing in God. When He is mocked, it hurts me. I long for the time when “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11). One day that will happen, when this earth ends and a new earth comes. But how wonderful it is when people already acknowledge Jesus as their Lord here and now!
I do not think religious truth is just a matter of opinion
Many people experience evangelism (sharing your faith) as intrusive and inappropriate. They resent it when people share their personal opinions about religion, especially if this is accompanied by a call to adopt those views. That is understandable if you see religion as just a personal opinion or belief. In this view, it’s fine for people to believe in God if this makes them happy, but they should not bother others with their religious views.
But faith is not a personal opinion that you can fill in according to your own taste. As a Christian, I believe there is only one truth, and it is crucial to know that truth. The Lord Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). If there is only one truth, then it suddenly becomes much more logical that believers want to share that truth with others. Because then the Christian faith is not one option among many others, but the only truth among all kinds of lies and misinformation.
It is not optional to believe or not to believe in God
I regularly hear people say, “If it makes someone happy to believe in God, they should by all means do so! But religion is not for me”. This view assumes that religion is optional. If it makes you happy, then you believe and abide by religious rules. If religion does not appeal to you, then you seek meaning and joy in something else.
But faith in the Lord God is not a hobby for enthusiasts. On the contrary. It is vitally important to believe in Him and give Him the honor He deserves. He is the Creator of every human being, and thus He deserves our devotion and worship. Therefore, if we do not acknowledge Him as our Lord, we are committing a sin. And it will be punished. The Bible speaks of this in horrendous terms. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” says Hebrews 10:30-31. I don’t wish that on anyone! Therefore, I hope that as many people as possible come to repentance and begin to recognize God as their Savior and King. The apostle Paul put it this way: “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
A witnessing Christian has your best interests at heart
These are three reasons why, as a Christian, I would like others to come to faith as well. No doubt more reasons could be given. Therefore, if someone wants to share their faith with you, it is not to impose a personal opinion. That person is convinced that you will only find lasting happiness if you get to know the Lord God personally. Believers find deep joy in their life with God, and they want you to find it too!
At the same time, we can’t force anyone to become a Christian. It’s not okay, and it does not even make sense, to force our faith on others. Faith in the Lord God is a conviction of the heart, and in the end God leaves every single human the choice to accept or to reject His offer of forgiveness and salvation.
How do you feel about someone starting a conversation about the Christian faith? Are you open to that?