Have you ever faced a point in your life when you decided to play it safe rather than stand up for your Christian values? Or worse, have you ever regretted that decision? Then this post is for you!
The text for today’s devotional is 1 Corinthians 4. Read and study this scripture along with me!
Know that you are not alone
Trust me, you are certainly not the only one to face this dilemma. In fact, the reality that you are a Christian practically guarantees that you will face these decisions in life. Besides, the world’s values are in direct opposition to your own! When I was brainstorming titles for this post, I considered writing ” the one question that inspired me to share my faith”. But then I thought, who am I kidding? I am far from feeling completely confident in this aspect of my faith! I decided to change inspired to present tense because I still have a lot to learn about this concept.
Maybe this post will help me, too!
Owning your faith
The first step to having the confidence to share your faith is knowing that it is your own.
A lot of people in Christian circles talk about evangelism. It is considered an extremely important gifting; and it is! Having the boldness to share your faith with others and introducing them to Jesus Christ is an amazing spiritual gift. But, what I realized recently was that to be able to confidently share your faith with others, you need to solidify your own faith first.
Have you ever tried to teach someone a new concept – one that you yourself understood completely? It’s a bit of a challenge, even though you thought you had mastered it! Now, try teaching someone else something that you don’t understand. That is 100x harder!
It is the same way with your faith. Trying to teach a nonbeliever about your faith is so much harder when you don’t understand it yourself. You need to own your faith before you can share it with others!
So, how do you make it your own?
There are a couple answers to this question that we can glean from 1 Corinthians 4 and other Bible verses.
The first answer is to imitate a mature Christian that you admire.
I know this seems counter-productive. I mean, if you are trying to establish your own personal faith, why should you copy someone else’s? Yet, Paul writes multiple times in 1 Corinthians that the church of Corinth should imitate him like a son imitates his father.
…For in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
– 1 Corinthians 4:15-16
This concept actually makes sense. It is impossible to grow and nurture your own faith unless you have an example. You must learn to play pieces on the piano before you can compose your own music.
So, don’t forget the importance of sincerely admiring someone and striving to imitate their example. Maybe it is your mom, dad, or pastor. If you choose a Christian who imitates GOD, then following their example will lead you to Him as well.
The second answer is to take the initiative.
I grew up my whole life in a Christian household. I understand that it is sometimes hard to really know if your faith is your own. Sometimes you wonder, “I’ve heard all of this my whole life…how do I know I really believe it?” You could have been imitating your parents your whole life, but without this second step, you would never be able to own your faith.
Read your Bible
Taking initiative with your faith involves a few different things. The first point is to read your Bible on your own time. I don’t mean just on Sundays … read it as much as you can! I know this is tough. I myself struggle with remembering and setting apart the time for reading the Scriptures. However, only the Bible will give you the foundation that you need. Christian books are great, but you must remember that they aren’t written by God – the Bible, though, is! (Hopefully, I will write a post in the future on some strategies that might help with quiet times)
Reading your Bible is very closely linked to my next point: take the initiative to ask questions about your faith. I remember taking a philosophy class a few years ago (fortunately from a Christian perspective…). One of the things that I loved about it was that it asked tough questions that ALWAYS had answers in the Scriptures. Reasoning through these questions and searching the Bible for answers resulted in a confidence I’ll never forget. So, don’t suppress your questions – find a Bible and dig for the answer! I know that you will always find the answer in the Bible.
Finally, my last point for taking initiative with your faith is to take action! Paul writes,
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
– 1 Corinthians 4:20
You can imitate mature Christians, read you Bible daily, and reason through your faith, but without action – it’s worthless. Find some way to exercise your faith. Just like your own physical body, your spiritual “body” needs to be exercised. I have always thought that the best way to exercise your own faith is by teaching others. When I was about ten or eleven, I lead a Bible study for a few years with some other girls my age. It really helped to motivate me to read the Word, and strengthened my leadership skills. I encourage you to find some way that you can practically “work out your salvation” – as Paul says.
These tips are not supposed to be a “3 steps to owning your faith” kind of thing. No, it is a process. Everyone is at a different point in their walk of faith. I just want to share truths from scripture that I have found to be helpful in my own life. I hope these posts will be a springboard from which you can explore the Bible more thoroughly!
The third answer is to learn from trials.
Just as an exam at school solidifies your knowledge, trials in life solidify your faith. If someone asked me to define the single most important point of growth in my faith, I would tell them that it was two years ago when my brother was diagnosed with Leukemia. It was one of the hardest events our family has ever experienced.
Yet, as I said before, it was also one of the richest times. Every day, I was challenged to look to God for guidance and hope – two things that nothing else could provide. I wrote in the heading “learn from trials” on purpose. There is a difference between experiencing suffering and learning from suffering. Besides, everyone experiences some kind of suffering at some point in their life; but it either destroys them or strengthens them.
As I see it, there are two paths that you can take while battling a trial. The first is what the majority of the population believes – that suffering is a punishment from God and that it is a curse. The second (right) way of looking at it is that it is God’s way of strengthening your faith and making it your own. During suffering, you either embrace your faith 100% or abandon it. Trials are one of the best ways to learn how to own your faith.
What exactly does “sharing my faith” mean?
Oftentimes we think of sharing our faith only as in telling someone about why you believe, what you believe, etc. But, this is not true. Sharing your faith includes sticking up for your Christian values as well.
Every day, you are in a sense “sharing your faith”. By merely working, helping, and speaking you are showing everyone around you who you believe in. As it says in the Bible:
Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
Yet, even sharing your faith – in this new sense of the phrase – is incredibly difficult sometimes. Like you, I have had a few experiences when my values were tested; times when I had been challenged to speak up for modesty, pure speech, or clean movies. As I am sure you all have also experienced, there have been times as well when I have failed to assert my Christian values.
A few questions
Recently I was thinking about the concept of sharing my faith, and a pretty simple question popped into my mind. Why was I so bothered that someone in my life might leave without ever knowing I was a Christian? The answer, too, was pretty simple: because Christianity is my identity. (to read more about identities, click here!). What about you: would you be upset knowing that someone in your life would NEVER know you were a Christian?
Then, that got me thinking. I thought to myself,
“what if I knew that I would never see that person again after tomorrow. What would I tell them today?”
I encourage you to think about that in all your relationships with nonChristians. Remember that when you share Christ with someone, even though they might be annoyed at first, you are sharing LIFE with them! I hope this question will help you as much as it has helped me to be bold about my convictions and my faith!
What has helped YOU become more fearless in sharing your faith?