Throughout my life, I’ve been told faith is a very personal thing. Yes, your beliefs are unique to your person, but that’s not what people mean when they say their faith is personal. They mean they don’t want to share it with others either because:
- they don’t know where their faith lies,
- they’re embarrassed about it,
- they’re afraid of being judged.
Faith isn’t something you keep closeted from those around you. It’s something you live.
Think about this: What if Mary hadn’t had enough faith to bear Christ? What if John the Baptist didn’t faithfully prepare the way for Him? What if Joseph had decided he didn’t have enough faith to stay married to Mary when she became pregnant? What if the Apostles and their disciples hadn’t have enough faith to write their stories, creating what we now call The Bible?
Mike Breen writes in Building a Discipleship Culture that “Faith always comes to the surface and faith always produces action. It cannot be contained. Thoughts and intents that are held within and not acted upon are not faith, no matter what we like to say.”
And it’s true. Jesus had very clear instructions for us. He wants us to go out and spread the Good News. How do you do that without sharing your faith with your friends and family, and sometimes even strangers? Short answer: You don’t.
Each morning I wake up and ask Jesus to use me as His faithful servant. So far, this hasn’t meant that I hand out Bibles or stand on a street corner with a megaphone.
It has meant that I consciously think about the way I speak and behave, so that I try to always portray The Kingdom positively to those around me (believers and non-believers). It also means that I don’t keep my faith a secret. I pray for people, I pray with people, and I proclaim my faith freely to those around me so they’ll hopefully see me as an example of what Jesus is like.
It has also meant that I interact with other faithful followers of Jesus. Because how do we learn how to do something if we don’t have others teaching us? You can only learn so much from a book (even if it is The Book). God led me to my church family so that we can learn from each other, encourage each other, and hold each other accountable in our faith.
Next time you hesitate to share your faith with someone, I encourage you to listen with intent to God and obey faithfully. And if you’re not sure what you believe, I encourage you to start thinking about what you value and why. Who are you being Jesus to? If the answer is no one, you aren’t obeying God’s will.
After all, you don’t light a lamp and put it under a blanket, right?