1 Peter 3:1-2
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”
One of the most powerful tools to influence others is the life you live. In the verse above, God is dealing with wives whose husbands are lost. God’s advice to these ladies is to live their life in such a manner that their husbands would see their “chaste conversation with fear” and get saved. God was showing in this verse the power of living what you believe.
Now, if living what you believe would work for a wife who lives with a lost husband, I would surmise that it would work for anyone who is trying to influence others to get saved. Anyone who knows me knows that I believe in being a verbal witness for Christ; however, there are some people who are turned off from the Gospel that the only way they will ever change is by the “chaste conversation” of our lives.
The word “chaste” means pure, genuine, and uncorrupt. The word “conversation” is talking about the manner of life we live. In other words, God is saying that the believer who lives a pure life, is genuine in who they are, and lives life without living in sin will do more to influence some than anything they can ever say. Let me point out a few things about making a difference on people who won’t listen.
First, God never said to preach at those who won’t listen. These verses are talking about trying to influence people who are hardened towards God and the Gospel. Preaching at them about everything they do will only drive them away. I have often told people to stop preaching all the time at those who are backslidden or lost because they are expecting you to preach at them and your preaching at them is their excuse to continue living in sin. What they don’t expect is for you not to say anything. I am not saying that you condone sin, but I am saying that preaching at them all the time is not going to do a bit of good.
Second, God never said it would be easy to win them over. Part of living a “chaste conversation” is that you must do this day in and day out, even when the person you are trying to bring to Christ is being obstinate. One of the reasons they are so obstinate is because your life brings conviction on how they live. You have to understand that it will be difficult at times doing right around those who don’t want to do right because they are going to do everything they can at times to annoy you to cause you not to be a good testimony for God.
Third, love those who you are trying to win over, even if they are being obstinate. It is always hard to turn love away. When you continue to love someone in spite of how they treat you, they notice that there is something different about you that they don’t have. Loving the lost when they are not loving towards you magnifies Christ’s love more than anything else. You will have a better chance of bringing people back to Christ when they realize that your love for them is not conditioned on their good treatment of you.
Fourth, pray for them. There is no substitute for prayer. The greatest tool you have to winning hardened people Christ is prayer. Prayer does more to work on the hardened person’s heart than any action you could perform. Whatever you do, never stop praying that the hardened sinner will come to Christ.