Sometimes I trip myself up. I get this feeling like I’m not “spiritual enough” to speak to people. As if “feeling spiritual” is a prerequisite for preaching the Gospel. We all have excuses for not evangelizing, just some seem holier or disguise themselves as humility.
Sometimes we’re too tired to talk to that person or too introverted or we’d feel like we’re imposing. We’re not smart enough or holy enough or good enough at speaking.
Some set the bar of evangelization really high, believing only priests, church workers, and speakers are capable of evangelization. It’s not always out of laziness or fear that we make these excuses. Just at some point, we believed a lie about what evangelization looks like and told ourselves we don’t fit that image.
But God doesn’t have prerequisites for evangelization.
There’s that silly phrase “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” (I say it’s silly because it sounds like God doesn’t want to use people who have natural talents, which isn’t true.) What’s true about that is God gives strength to the weak. So if we are too weak to evangelize, whether it’s our fault or nobody’s fault, God will give us strength if we just get out of the way.
So what does “getting out of the way” look like? Here are 3 steps to take when you feel like you can’t evangelize:
1) Ask God For Strength
The first step is just asking God for help. It’s pretty much the only step, but since we’re bad at being humble, we need two extra steps. The simple act of asking God for strength (literally, stop right now and do that) is a powerful act of humility.
This is the only real starting point, because evangelization starts and ends with God. God has loved and invested in His people forever. He isn’t assisting us in our ministry, we are participating in His. We are just tools in His hands.
2) Take Yourself Out of the Equation
By this I mean take a moment to recognize that you are not the super-evangelist without whom no one will be saved. Christ makes it clear as He enters Jerusalem [Luke 19:37-40], if the world is silent, the rocks cry out in praise. Dad will still get the doorknob fixed even if Junior doesn’t help with the screws. It is His love that lets us participate.
Letting go of the pride in our hearts is hard, but it becomes easier once we recognize the forms it can take. Sometimes fear of our own inadequacy is a form of pride. It refuses to acknowledge God as bigger than our faults. Our weaknesses are good simply because they allow us to remember God is forming us.
3) Remind Yourself of His Strength
The final step is to keep reminding yourself when you forget. Between the prayer and the evangelization, there is still time for your pride to sneak in the back door, or use an alternate plan of attack.
If you’re squashing fear of your own inadequacy, watch out for false confidence to come in later. Or if struggling with false confidence, look out for despair or acedia (distracting yourself so you don’t have to focus on the challenge.)
If you follow these steps, you will evangelize better, but that’s not the ultimate point. The ultimate goal of these steps is to humble yourself. We all trying to uproot the sin of pride, and this is one of the most sinister ways pride can infiltrate the Christian heart.
We know we have the Gospel of Truth, and sometimes knowing how “right” we are can make us cocky. Continuing to place yourself at the lowest setting of the table is good for you. It’s like broccoli. It may not taste good, but eat it.
Also like brocolli, if you prepare humility correctly it’s delicious and part of a nutritious and virtuous meal.