If I took a picture of your life today, what would it look like? Take a look at these recent Facebook status updates:
• So excited to start my new job next week!
• Incredible vacation on the lake—I feel so rested.
• Free coffee at Starbucks? Yes please!
When you post a Facebook status, tweet, or post an Instagram picture, you’re giving people a snapshot of what your life is like. Those things don’t fully explain who you are or what you’re about, of course, but they give your followers some insight into what you’re grateful for, stressed about, or amused by.
A Tweet at a Time
We can do the same thing with the gospel. For example, we can express gratitude to God through social media, be vulnerable with others about how we’re trying to trust God in a difficult situation, or explain how Jesus is giving us compassion to love others.
When we think about sharing the gospel, we often believe we need to get the whole shebang out there—creation, fall, redemption, and consummation—or that God can’t use what we are able to offer. In some conversations or situations, the whole story is what’s called for. And it’s great when we do take the risk or opportunity to share the whole gospel.
Yet it’s more likely that we can offer snapshots of what the gospel looks like as we live it out. We need to give ourselves freedom to share snapshots with people rather than the whole panoramic view of the gospel. Again, there are times when it’s appropriate and necessary to share the whole gospel message; people do need the whole picture. But they also need to see how the gospel is lived out in a daily way. We need both the snapshots and the panoramic pictures.
How are you giving brief glimpses for people to see what it means for you to follow Jesus? Often the small things we do on a daily basis end up having a big impact on the people around us. This could be posting a prayer request on your Facebook feed, or pinning an inspiring image with Scripture on Pinterest or Instagram. It could be as simple as commenting to people or their posts and being open to sharing with them what you’re thankful for or struggling with on a daily basis. Letting people know you’re trusting God with those things rather than just complaining or thinking they wouldn’t be interested provides a compelling picture of life with Jesus.
The Good News We Know
Recently I shared with a woman about my struggles with depression, and how I was trusting Jesus to give me peace instead of being anxious about caring for my kids, my home, and my body while working part-time. She then shared her fears about her work and her relationship with her boyfriend, and I offered to pray for her. Rather than just complaining, I took the risk to invite her into the presence of God—to not just tell her about the good news of the gospel, but also to help her experience it for herself.
In these moments where we have an opportunity to go deeper spiritually and relationally with others we can both show and tell people why the gospel is good news for us: how we can apply it to our lives every day by being grateful for a God who loves us, how he is guiding us through places of darkness and brokenness, how Jesus has and is renewing us, and how the Holy Spirit is giving us the love, power, and self-control to live differently.
Think of some areas in your life that you’re struggling with. It’s tempting to conceal our vulnerabilities, but it’s likely that someone else is struggling with something as well and wishing they could talk about. When you speak up and share about the presence of Jesus in your life, you are showing them that they aren’t alone and you’re sharing the good news with them that Jesus can do something about the darkness in their lives.
As Prince once sang in the song “Let’s Go Crazy,” “dearly beloved we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” We are able to share about and share in each other’s struggles. That is good news for us as we try to get through life with one another.
Jessica Fick serves as InterVarsity’s Regional Evangelism Coordinator for the Great Lakes East region. She blogs at jessicafick.com and is working on her first book for InterVarsity Press.