AVOID THIS COMMON MISTAKE WITH MUSLIMS
About two years ago, I met three fellow believers at an iHOPE workshop—their names were Alexa, Taylor, and John. The three of them felt God’s call to share their faith with their Muslim neighbors and took a courageous step to begin gospel-centered relationships with Muslims in their area. They shared this story with me about their efforts:
Alexa, Taylor, and John went to lunch at a Mediterranean restaurant, praying they would meet Muslims with whom they could begin Gospel-centered relationships. At the table next to them were two women, one with a colorful hijab (a head covering many Muslim women wear in public), and one with no hijab.
Alexa introduced herself to the two women (Fatima wore the hijab, while Salma didn’t) and asked them if they’d be willing to recommend dishes from the menu. Fatima and Salma were happy to help. After a few minutes of small talk, Alexa shared the one-sentence Gospel presentation: “I’m a follower of Jesus, and I believe what God says in the Bible, Romans 10:9: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Then Alexa said: “I would love to know more about you and your beliefs. Would you meet with me?”
Fatima said: “I’m a Muslim. I don’t believe Jesus is Lord or that he died.” Then, Fatima looked at Salma.
Salma said: “I’m a Muslim too. I would love to meet with you and talk more about this” Then Salma and Alexa exchanged contact information and got together the very next day. When they met again, Alexa invited Salma to read the Bible with her and discuss their respective views on what they read about Jesus. Salma accepted the invitation and Alexa and Salma did this together for the following four years. The two of them became good friends and study partners, and after four years of exploring the gospel, Salma accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior.
The Second Essential
There are a few reasons why I love this story. Alexa was wise to use scripture to share her faith because it is the strongest tool God provides us and it allowed her to recognize whether these women were prepared to learn more. We know from John [6:44] (New Living Translation): “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me,” meaning only those whose hearts God has prepared will be able to receive Christ. In 1 Corinthians 12:3 we read “…no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.”
Only Muslims who the Father is drawing to Jesus, and whose heart the Holy Spirit has prepared to accept him, will be able to fully accept Jesus as their savior one day. That means that it is best for you and me, as it was with Alexa, to make a Gospel connection with a Muslim whom God has prepared. Let’s take a look at what it means to determine a Muslim person of peace.
The How To
Learn from Alexa’s experience: sharing the one-sentence Gospel presentation is a simple action you can take to understand where your new Muslim friend is regarding their openness toward learning more.
Fatima was not yet a person God was drawing to Jesus. But it turned out that Salma was. By taking this step, Alexa found a Muslim whom God was drawing to Jesus. And so can you!
Taking 3 small steps
- Create an introduction statement that’s a fit for you and follow it up with your one-sentence Gospel presentation or belief of Romans 10:9. Then create your own invitation for ongoing discussion. The introduction and invitation statements Alexa used from above are good examples to follow.
- Pray that God will lead you to a Muslim he is drawing to Jesus.
- Then go have fun as you explore to find such a person with whom you can have a Gospel-centered relationship.
This simple step to determine who God is preparing has proven to be enormously beneficial in our ministry. We’ve shared this strategy with 7,500 Christians who have been moved to shared their faith with nearly 1,400 Muslims who eventually accepted Jesus.
Consider what it would look like for you to take a brave step like Alexa did this week. God is faithful in leading you to the person whose heart He is drawing to Himself!
Note: When beginning a Gospel-centered relationship with a Muslim, it’s only appropriate to do so with a member of the same gender (male with male, female with female) or with a family when both genders are present.