How do we actually hear God’s voice in evangelism?
I’d like to suggest that it begins a couple of steps earlier — in private devotion. John 10:27 says, “My sheep listen to my voice.”
The best way to tune in to the voice of the Good Shepherd is to hear it often in his word. It’s through the Bible, whether read or taught to us, that we become familiar with God’s will and God’s ways.
I grew up with parents who were pretty consistent in their values. Over time, I knew what they would say in most situations. “Always tell the truth,” I can still hear my dad say. “Try something new,” Mom encouraged, as we entered a restaurant.
It’s the same with God. Knowing his will in general will help us know it in specific situations.
Since in general we’re called to love people, both friends and enemies, I can say with confidence that it’s “God’s will” for us to take an interest in the lives of those around us, and to initiate conversation whenever possible.
Then . . . well, simply watch what happens. Wait for the Spirit. Often, people reveal an openness to spiritual topics.
One day at a golf course I said hello to a stranger. Joe greeted me in return, and I asked how his golf game was doing.
“Bad shoulder,” he replied. “Struggling to make a full swing with the club.”
“Oh, sorry to hear that. What happened?” I asked.
Ten minutes later he finished telling me his life story.
Sensing that God had gone before me and there was an open door to spiritual matters, I said, “I often pray for people. So Lord, would you heal Joe’s shoulder and bless his life, amen.”
Joe thanked me and after a final “take care” and “take it easy,” we went our separate ways and I never saw him again.
I believe this was a classic case of God going before me. I didn’t do anything except ask a simple question and show genuine interest. Then when the time came to get involved, I got involved with a brief prayer.
The risk on my part was in offering the prayer. Maybe Joe would be offended.
But I surmised that Joe’s transparency about his life with a stranger was God opening a door.
And when the door swings open, the divine calling is quite simple: walk through.