There are so many ways Jesus can be incorporated into a conversation.
Sure, there is a seemingly endless list of ways to ruin a conversation by bringing Jesus up. This is typically in the form of being way too spiritual for no reason or being corny. There are times when mentioning Jesus is not totally relevant to the conversation. The classic “Jesus is the answer to everything” mentality is not really effective. When the waiter asks what you want to drink, you don’t respond by saying, “I’ve drunk from the living water. I’m not thirsty.” That’s not even what the waiter meant. It’s also a conversation killer if someone is talking about something tough they are going through, and you just say, “Hey, well God has a plan.” I mean, He does but what a seemingly tactless thing to say.
Being in college and really just growing up, I’ve seen several things work– and several things fail. Here is my Certified Top 5 List of Best Times to Interject Jesus into your conversations:
1. Talk about Jesus when you obtain a win.
I think the hardest thing for a Christian to master is discipline. I think the second hardest thing is humility. God calls us to humility just as Christ was humble enough to become human for us (Philippians 2). One way to very easily put Christ into a conversation is to give credit where credit is due. For one, you don’t “win” anything apart from Christ (Deuteronomy 8:16-19). Secondly, what a powerful thing to do— deflect praise and ricochet that to Christ. I’ve got a buddy here at school who is a believer. And he plays basketball (we did an interview on the podcast). He is very adamant about thanking God for a good game or praising Him for blessings. This is such an easy and powerful way to share Christ. Give Him all the credit for your success— it’s His, anyway. And that will surely teach you a little bit of humility. I need a ton of that.
2. Share Jesus when someone is having a tough time.
I know, I know. I just said not to do this. But you may have misunderstood me. I think it’s tactless to tell someone who is having a bad time, “Hey, God’s got a plan.” He does. I have no doubt about that. But that’s not the best thing you can say. The best thing you can do is share a personal anecdote. I’ve done this with different people before. I always use the story of torn ACL. In 10th grade, I partially tore my ACL. I had to skip out on a lot of things for that, but without tearing it, I wouldn’t be playing college football. I had to spend a lot of time on the sidelines just snapping. That made me better, and I was able to get recruited to play college football. God does always have a plan. He uses every opportunity to work grace in our lives (Romans 8:28). But someone doesn’t need to hear that basic fact. Show them how Christ has specifically taken care of you in a hard moment. Testimonies speak louder than anything else. Why do you think they hire professional athletes to sponsor products?
3. Blame Jesus for your lifestyle choices.
Blame? That seems a little harsh, I know. But hear me out. If you’re going to call yourself a Christian, you are inherently and completely different than a non-Christian. Your lifestyle and your attitude ought to be very much a reflection of Christ and Christ alone. With salvation comes a drastic change in who you are. With this change comes the changing of habits. This is where people really start to notice. If you are a true Christian and trying to live for Christ, then you won’t be at parties. And you won’t be cussing up a storm. You’ll be humble. You will go above and beyond to serve others. You will work hard. You will take criticism well. And this is most certainly not the whole list of things. As a Christian, you will look different. That’s the Biblical mandate (Romans 12:2). People are going to ask about your difference. That’s the perfect time to blame it on Jesus. People say, “Hey, why don’t you ever (insert sinful action here)?” To that, you just say, “Man, Jesus wouldn’t really appreciate it,” or, “I don’t know, man. That’s not really my thing. Christ wouldn’t want that for me. Sorry.” You don’t act differently because it’s your choice. You act differently because that’s Christ’s call.
4. Talk about your involvement in the Church like it’s your favorite hobby.
I think probably the most non-threatening way to talk about Jesus would be to talk about church. In the South especially, talking about your church or going to church is really no big deal. A lot of people go (or went at one point). It’s a low-stakes way to identify with Christ. The difference between you and the rest of the world, though, is that admitting you go to church should be the beginning of the conversation. Go on and talk about your involvement in a Bible study or discipleship group. Share what the pastor has been preaching on recently. Invite people to upcoming events. Talk about what role you serve as in your own local congregation. Make Christianity look like it’s a part of your identity (like it’s supposed to be). This is a sure-fire way to bring on questions. You’re not asking questions or making accusations. You’re simply just talking about your church and what it means to you. That’s a win-win.
5. Don’t talk about Jesus alone.
Perhaps the most powerful tool in Christianity is community. For one, the Bible is littered with it and its importance. But it’s so much more than that. Sharing Jesus is great. How much easier and more powerful is it if two people share Jesus? Or three? Or six? People can argue with one person or deem one person’s testimony as just a fluke. People can’t argue with repeat results. It’s also just a huge confidence factor to know that you aren’t the only person in the conversation with the Gospel. The inherent requirement here, too, is actually having community to talk with. Getting involved is the best way to maintain your spiritual growth. Failure to do so is one of the best ways to murder your spiritual growth. And in case you forgot, murder is bad.
I hope these help. Having a spiritual conversation is tricky. But I’ve found that I always think that when I’m limiting a spiritual conversation to, “Hey, let me share the Gospel with you.” That’s not always practical. Eventually, all of our conversations should get to the Gospel. If we aren’t sharing the Gospel with the world, then any amount of tips I could give you are useless. But sometimes we need to get our foot in the door. One way to do that is to easily interject Jesus in a conversation when we can. And there are plenty of ways to do that.
Keep pushing forward. Don’t be corny. Share the Gospel. And remember… you can’t share Jesus if you don’t know who He is.