Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. (Jude 21)

CHRISTIANS OFTEN WANT TO DEFEND God’s truth but find it difficult to do so. How do we start such conversations, and, if someone will listen, what do we say?

The apostle Paul gave us some good tips. When he received an opportunity to speak in the Areopagus in Athens (Acts 17), he had done his homework. He’d found his conversation-starter when he noticed an altar to the unknown God. He continued his speech with universal truths and included quotes from the Athenians’ own poets. Then he proclaimed Jesus as the unknown God they had been searching for. He was polite, explained the truth clearly, and left when he was finished without trying to force a decision or debate with them.

Jude encouraged Christians to build their lives on the foundation of faith, to pray in the Holy Spirit, to stay in God’s love, and to wait for the mercy of Jesus Christ. If we are faithful in those practices, the Lord will give us opportunities to speak for Him. We can prepare for those opportunities by praying for unbelievers, by trying to understand their thinking and their felt needs, and by looking for things we have in common. Telling of our own experiences will be more effective than arguing with them. Contend for the faith, but always speak the truth in love.

Write your testimony, then condense it and highlight what’s most important.

Judith Vander Wege is a member of the worship committee, choir, and praise team at her church and plays the accordion for senior citizens.