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Jia Jiang feared rejection so much that it consumed his life. He decided to face his fear with an experiment. For one hundred days in a row, he chose to be rejected in a different way daily.

He asked a stranger for $100.

He asked another stranger to let him plant a flower in his backyard.

He requested a burger refill (rather than a soda refill) at a hamburger joint.

He got a no, a no, and a no.

But he quickly learned something: the more he was rejected, the more he realized that rejection wasn’t as bad as he feared. He also learned from each encounter about people and about himself.

One day he asked a lady at Krispy Kreme to make a donut shaped and colored like the Olympic rings. Remarkably, she said, “Why not?” The video of her creation went viral, reaching over five million views online. Jia’s experiment soon made him a sensation, leading to his delivering a TED talk and writing a book on his experience. In fact, his experiment brought him so much fame he had to start rejecting people’s requests for his time.

No one loves rejection. But as Jia learned, it’s not as bad as we think.

After teaching evangelism for thirty-plus years, I’ve observed two primary fears keeping believers from sharing Jesus with others. The first is the fear of rejection.

I wish I could tell you how to share Christ so no one would reject it, but that’s not realistic. The gospel is an offense to many who are perishing. We want to share Christ as winsomely as possible. How do we overcome this fear?

Understand the role of rejection. Rejection comes with being a follower of Christ. Jesus was rejected by His own people. A true prophet in Israel faced rejection for His message. Jesus told us we are blessed when people revile us (Matt. 5:11). A variety of Christianity that is focused on comfort and blessing will not push believers to value rejection for the gospel, but a deep love for Christ will push us to face adversity for His name.

We should see rejection less as an obstacle and more as an opportunity to grow. Rejection can actually be vital to our discipleship. We can learn from the times we are rejected, becoming better at communicating the gospel and increasingly accepting rejection as a part of the path of following Christ.

We should see rejection less as an obstacle and more as an opportunity to grow.

Most of us want to control the things around us. We have set patterns for small groups, for corporate worship, and so on. But when we talk with an unbeliever about Jesus, we don’t actually know how the conversation will go. We have to give up control and trust the Holy Spirit to guide us, and sometimes we aren’t comfortable doing that. This is why sharing Christ offers a great way to grow spiritually as we learn to rely on the power of the gospel and the work of the Spirit.

We need to replace our fear with a greater fear. There’s an appropriate place for fear in the life of the Christian, but that fear should be aimed at our awesome God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 1:7). The Apostle Paul declared that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; thus, knowing the fear of God, we persuade people (2 Cor. 5:10–11). We need to replace our fear of people with a proper fear of God.

The second fear is the fear of failure. You likely know this fear, which sometimes looks like this: “What if they ask a question I can’t answer? I don’t want to fail the Lord or the other person.”

Fear of failure sometimes exists because we misunderstand our task. We are called to faithfulness to the gospel, not to win to Christ every single person with whom we share the gospel. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not win every person with whom He shared the gospel. We are ambassadors. Ambassadors do not speak on their authority but for another. We don’t have to be spectacular or breathtaking in our witness, because Jesus is the glorious One. Our success in witnessing is not based on the response of the person with whom we share the gospel. Our obedience pleases our Father even when people do not come to faith.

Nowhere in Scripture are we told that an effective witness must be a Bible answer man or woman. While we wish to answer questions as faithfully as possible, our assignment is to give reason for the hope within us (1 Peter 3:15). Paul said the gospel, not our answers, is the power of God to salvation (Rom. 1:16).

This leads me to a practical solution for this fear: equipping in witnessing. Giving believers basic training in sharing the gospel with others helps develop confidence when we witness. Believers who earnestly desire to serve Christ—and from my experience, most do—will find such training helpful. I literally get an e-mail or two daily from someone telling me how my recent book Sharing Jesus without Freaking Out gave them confidence to share Christ. Many reports come from introverts who overcame their fear by simple training and encouragement. Witness training that allows people to learn through role playing, and field experience helps them to see that they can evangelize others. If you are a pastor, I highly recommend that you give to your people regular instruction in and examples of sharing Christ with others.

God created you for His glory to advance His gospel with the gifts, talents, and abilities He gave you. You can face your fears and share Christ for God’s glory and for your good.

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From the August 2018 Issue
Aug 2018 Issue