If you force someone into a spiritual conversation it can have a negative impact on their openness to God or to future discussions with you. So how can you know when to talk to someone about God?
In this blog series we will be highlighting a number of signs that let you know that now is the time to have a God-conversation with a person in your life.
Today’s answer to the question, “When should I talk to someone about God?” is…
…when they ask a question about God, your faith, church, or spiritual things.
Think about how Jesus approached this question of when to have spiritual conversations with people. When you observe Jesus’ life in the gospels, you recognise that he was always trying to identify the seekers among the crowds of people he interacted with. As soon as Jesus recognised that someone was searching for answers, or that they were thinking about God, or that they were aware that something was still missing in their lives, he immediately focused on that person and tried to help them see that a right relationship with God was what they needed.
In John chapter 3, when Nicodemus showed up at Jesus’ door at night, saying, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him,” Jesus knew he was searching, so he headed straight for a truth that he knew would begin a life-changing discussion with Nicodemus. He said to him, “You must be born again.”
In John chapter 4, when he encountered the Samaritan woman at the well, Jesus began probing to see if she was searching. He began talking about living water that can satisfy your inner thirst in a way that physical water never can. The further that conversation went, the more obvious it became that this woman was searching. Jesus immediately began talking with her about her sinful pursuit of love in the wrong way. He also described God’s nature and how we approach him. All the way through the conversation, the woman was totally involved in the back and forth. It wasn’t a lecture; it was a great conversation that led to her bringing her whole village out to meet Jesus.
We could keep going and talk about Zacchaeus, the woman with the haemorrhage who touched him in the crowd, the scribe who had questions about eternal life, blind Bartimaus, the man let down through the roof, the Syrophoenician woman, etc, etc.
In the midst of his talks to the big crowds, while he was healing person after person and casting demons out of all who were oppressed, as he interacted with people along the way—in every circumstance and encounter, Jesus was on the lookout for seekers. And so often, the thing that showed him a person was searching for answers was that they were asking questions.
When a person asks you or someone around you a question about God, even if they ask it nonchalantly, you should always focus your attention on that person and begin responding to them as though they are searching for God. Talk to them about what God means to you. Ask them a question that will let them express themselves at whatever level they are comfortable with.
When someone mentions what your faith means to you, share with them on the personal level about your relationship with God. Don’t just talk about theological truths about God. Tell them what he means to you personally.
When someone brings up church, talk about the difference between religious Christianity and a personal relationship with Jesus, who is alive.
The first and most obvious sign that it’s time to talk with someone about God is when they ask a question that opens the door.
Why don’t you stop right now, and pray that God will bring someone who is searching across your path today? Ask him to show you they are searching by having them ask a question!