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From the Surface, to the Serious, to the Spiritual

Series: 5 Ways to Prepare to Share the Gospel with Co-Workers
Devotional: 4 of 5
Published: November 22, 2021

And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. (Colossians 4:3-4)

In this series, we’re looking at five simple ways to prepare to share the gospel with those we work with. We’ve already explored three:

  1. Be so good they can’t ignore you
  2. Be a friend
  3. Identify yourself as a Christian

Once you’ve done those things, let me encourage you to pray that God would open doors to move from the Surface, to the Serious, to the Spiritual

I think a lot of us feel like it is up to us to pry open doors to share the gospel with others. But that wasn’t the Apostle Paul’s approach. Hear his words in Colossians 4:3: “Pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ.”

God alone can make people receptive to the gospel. We pray to that end, and then we must look for opportunities to move conversations with unbelievers from the Surface, to the Serious, to the Spiritual (all credit for this helpful framework goes to Matt Chandler).

I’ll share an example of one of the few times I have done this well. I was chatting with a co-worker we’ll call Jill, and our conversation went something like this.

First, I started on the Surface, asking Jill how her kids’ soccer game went on Saturday. “Great,” Jill said, “but I was just so exhausted from the week.”

Sensing an opportunity to move from the Surface to the Serious, I replied, “Yeah, I’ve noticed you’ve been on Slack super late the past few weeks. You’re working way harder than the rest of your team. Why?” Jill said something to this effect: “Well, I love the work! But it’s also because I grew up pretty poor. And so I guess I’ve always seen my work as a way of proving I’m not like my parents.”

Now we were moving from the Serious to the Spiritual. I said, “I’ve been there! For a long time, I used my work to prove something to my parents and my friends. But a few years ago, I realized that no amount of professional success would ever be enough. I know it might sound weird, but it was my Christian faith that got me off that exhausting hamster wheel.”

Of course, the dialogue wasn’t that polished. But that was the gist of the conversation. And by God’s grace, it opened up an opportunity to share the gospel with Jill. 

Before you head off to work today, pray that God would do for you what he did for me and Jill. Pray that he would open doors to move from the Surface, to the Serious, to the Spiritual in your conversations with those you work with. And then, be on the lookout for how God moves to that end!

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