When it comes to religion or spirituality in general, and Christianity in particular, many people have questions. Modern technology has made it easier to access information. The days are gone when God’s existence or the reliability of the Bible could be accepted at face value. In today’s world, claims of truth are often questioned, criticized, and relativized.
Roadblock questions and smokescreen questions
Questions aren’t bad. The more questions that a person asks you about Jesus, the more you’re able to talk about Jesus. That gives God even more opportunities to work on a person’s heart. To be sure, some people ask questions just to try to complicate the simple gospel message. Their questions are only smokescreens. Just as a magician may throw smoke to cover up what he’s doing on the stage, these people ask questions only to divert the conversation. They might like a good debate, but in their hearts, there isn’t any real desire to discover the truth.
Other people ask questions because they are genuinely interested in the answers you have to offer. For them, there are some roadblocks that keep them from taking their next step toward Jesus. Their questions are part of their honest search for truth. It’s important to pray that God will give you discernment to know if a person’s questions are roadblocks or smokescreens.
The truth of your message
One of the Jesus’ first twelve disciples, Peter, provides some helpful counsel on this subject. Writing to a church that faced a hostile environment and frequent persecution, he said, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” 1 Peter 3.15 NIV.
According to Peter, your transformed life is the strongest evidence for the truth of your message. Your integrity is important. To be effective as an ambassador of Christ, He must be on the throne of your life. That’s what it means to revere Christ as Lord in your heart. Your changed life and consistent love for Jesus will be a great encouragement to people as they work through their questions.
In addition to your own life, you can also leverage logic. The gospel doesn’t ask you to leave your brain behind or to deny reality. The gospel acknowledges the truth of our condition and addresses it head-on, with the only remedy that can resolve it. That’s why Peter encourages us to be prepared. Be prepared for what? Be prepared to give answers and reasons for our hope in Christ.
When you don’t know the answer
Keep in mind that if someone asks a question and you’re not sure about the answer, it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “That’s a good question. I don’t know the answer, but we should definitely look into that further.” With that, you can do some research and find some answers that address that particular issue.
You don’t have to have all the answers. In fact, if you wait until you feel like you have all the answers before you share the gospel, you might never share the gospel! Just be prepared to explain the message clearly, and then be available to help people sort through their questions. You have the truth and the Holy Spirit on your side, so you have nothing to fear.
This post originally appeared at: How to Identify if a Person’s Questions are Roadblocks or Smokescreens – discipleFIRST