Gospel Focus

Should I encourage someone to give Jesus a try?

This is our eighth post to help you to be as clear as possible in speaking with unbelievers, explaining why some common Christians phrases shouldn't be used in witnessing encounters as they are either unbiblical or are very easily misunderstood by the unbeliever.

The eighth phrase not to use is: "Give Jesus a try".

Why not to use it:

• Not biblical: No one is called to give Jesus a try. In fact, Jesus says that a person must count the cost of following him first. He says: "any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:33) For Jesus doesn't want people to start following him but then give up later.

• It provides an excuse: Saying this phrase allows people to say "I gave Jesus a try and it didn't work or I didn't like it". When in reality, they were not really converted, they hadn't trusted in Jesus and hadn't counted the cost. They now think they know all about it, so therefore don't want to hear anything more about Jesus. 

• Coming for a wrong reason: How can someone give Jesus a try to see if He will protect him from the eternal wrath that is to come? The person would have to die to actually "try" it out. Therefore, saying this phrase shows that the Christian is trying to get the unbeliever to come to Christ not to be saved from the wrath to come (right motivation), but to get a temporal earthly benefit of being a Christian - love, joy, friendship, etc (bad motivation). 

If someone comes to Christ for that reason, he will only stick around as long as he's still getting those earthly benefits.

Instead, it's better to say:

• "God has fixed a day to come when He will punish us for all our wicked deeds that we have done. That means, the moment your heart stops beating, you'll receive this punishment forever, but God is offering you mercy now. Jesus died on the cross to take our punishment on our behalf. You need to trust no longer in yourself to get you to heaven, but simply in the sacrifice of Jesus on your behalf to save you from that punishment.

But He doesn't want half-hearted followers. Trusting in Jesus will then cause you to start turning from your sins and begin living your life for Him."