We talk a lot about spiritual discipline: discipline in private prayer, worship, reading of scripture and so on. However hardly anybody talks about the discipline of evangelism.
Subjects of spiritual discipline should be those areas where we ought to be growing spiritually, and contrary to what a lot of Christians think, the practice of evangelism is also a subject matter that should be considered when we think of spiritual discipline.
But I thought evangelism is simply a fruit of my spiritual maturity, not something that I need to discipline myself at?
Yes, it is true that evangelism is a natural result of a passionate life transformed by the gospel – therefore some people argue that the focus shouldn’t be on trying to discipline yourself in evangelism rather you should simply focus on your spiritual walk with God and then the evangelism will simply follow through.
I mostly agree with this analysis! I can also see the danger of simply becoming a Pharisee through unbiblical practice of spiritual discipline.
However, 2 Timothy chapter 4, verse 2 clearly says that we must not witness only when opportunities jump into our laps or when we are only in good seasons of spiritual walk with God, but we must preach the word in season and out or season.
So even if we are at a spiritually destitute state, we must discipline ourselves and put to death the deeds of our body, take up our cross and deny ourselves, and make conscious effort to fight our flesh and engage in evangelism whether we feel like we are up for it or not.
We must actively look for times and places to share the gospel.
The average church member can fill his or her calendar with religious activities and consequently push evangelism to the periphery. Even ministers can become so busy with ministerial stuff and “godly things”, that result in a neglect of purposeful evangelism.
Remember I have said that evangelism is a “discipline”, meaning that we should set rules and principles in place that will aid us in our efforts in evangelism. We should be creative and come up with personal rules that you can commit to according to your circumstances.
For example, you can potentially establish a scheduled time to witness throughout the week, or have a set day or time during your private prayer session to ask God to introduce and give you new souls into your life that you can evangelize etc.
I know one lady who has designated a certain day of the week when she would fast for that evening (just one meal!) and throughout the whole evening she would pray for those that she is evangelizing, that God would regenerate and change their heart so that they will be a born again Christian.
There is no need to overstress yourself in this, just remember what is important is that you should still regardless take small steps towards gradually increasing your discipline so that you will continually grow to become a faithful witness of Jesus Christ.
My personal resolution
Many years back, being inspired by Jonathan Edwards, I have created my own personal spiritual resolutions.
One of such I have copied from Edwards is as follows: “Resolved, to continually endeavour to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the glory of God – this maybe a new venue for preaching, new way to promote corporate prayer, new way to conduct personal devotions etc”.
Of course, as I go through this resolution every Sunday, I pray and meditate, to ask the Holy Spirit to guide me and inspire me new ways to engage in my personal evangelism.
Sometimes it might be a small gift to the unbeliever, or shouting them lunch or sending a bible verse and a word of encouragement. I try to constantly seek the Lord to lead me in new ways so that I will not become spiritually stagnant and fall into a spirit-void routine of evangelism.
I pray that the Lord will inspire you likewise to consider these issues and give you the strength to discipline yourself to become a faithful witness of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Richard Kwon is from Auckland, a regular lay person who just loves the Lord.