Monday, April 11, 2011

Pursuit of Potential: Lie #2

"I am ashamed that I am afraid to share Christ with others."

I would venture to say that most of us, if not all of us, have felt the sting of shame as a result of hesitancy to share Christ with others.

There is just something about sharing our faith that causes feelings of fear and anxiety to bubble up to the surface. The world we live in today is not one that could be described as Christ-friendly.

In fact, even America is becoming pro-tolerant and anti-Christ, more and more every year. This gradual, slow change from a God-fearing country, to an anything-goes-if-it-feels-good country, has caused many Christians to think twice before sharing their faith.

As a result, when we are confronted with a possible opportunity to share our faith, our mind may start to race, and we immediately begin playing out a scene in our heads that is not pretty. We may even struggle with upspoken fears like.....

-what if I share my faith, and they reject me?
-what if I share my faith, and they get mad or defensive?
what if I share my faith, but they believe in another religion, and become argumentative?
-what if I share my faith, and they criticize me, saying my actions are not that of a Christian?
-what if I share my faith, and they start asking questions about the Bible that I cannot answer?
- what if I share my faith, and they actually want to accept Christ?

Friend, I have great news.... despite what we may think, we do not have to be a Bible scholar, or ready for a battle, in order to be qualified or equipped to share Christ with others.

We can push past intimidation and fear, and have confidence and boldness if we trly want it. And we can drown out those lies that we are not good enough, smart enough or brave enough to share Christ - and that is exactly what it is - another lie from the one who wants to keep us silent.

Shame and fear has no place in a heart filled with faith, because Jesus knows our inhibitions, yet He still loves.

Jesus knows our fears, yet He offers strength. He knows our struggles, yet He walks with us. And Jesus knows the pain of rejection and the sting of betrayal.

So instead of shaming us, He comforts and provides. His goal is to equip us to be bold, not shame us into silence through fear. That is the devils job, and he is good at it.

If Jesus puts us in a place where we feel led to share our faith with someone, then a quick prayer can equip us with exactly the words that we need.

Just believe that He is bigger than our fears, He is steering the ship, we are simply the vessel.

This week, I want to give today's "lie" the attention it deserves. So today I want to share with you a brief acrostic, which is easy to remember, but powerful in meaning. This little acrostic is something we can use to strike up a conversation about faith anywhere, with anyone. Without fear.

After all, faith sharing is simply a conversation, with a purpose.

A great word to remember when talking to strangers, unsaved friends, co-workers, or acquaintances, is 'FORM'.

F Family … “Tell me about your family”
O Occupation… “What do you do for a living?”
R Religion… “What church do you go to?”
M Message… Share your spiritual journey.

Just four little questions which could gently pry open even the hardest heart. We merely have to be willing, and prepared, to give it a try.

Sharing our faith does not have be so overwhelming that we allow Satan to use that fear against us, and make us feel ashamed.

God convicts our hearts, but Satan condemns - so be sure you are listening to the right voice.

On Wednesday, I'll share with you some questions that you can print and carry around in your purse or wallet, or hang on the fridge, to help you be prepared to "share your spiritual journey".

Then on Friday, we will put this lie to rest with some tips on learning to share your testimony, or God-story, with others.

Lord, will you give me a faith and a passion for sharing You with boldness? Help me recognize those people who are lost, or who are hurting and don't even know they need a Savior. Give me the words to share, and the strength to push past any hesitations to share Your love and hope with others. Help me to tuck these questions into my mind, so that when you offer the opportunity and the blessing of using me, that I will feel confident enough to step out in faith and trust You. Help me not get discouraged if it takes me some time to find a comfort level with sharing, but help me to persevere for Your sake. Amen.

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