TIPS & TRICKS #12:
HOW TO BE BOLD ABOUT YOUR FAITH
I must say I’ve been very discouraged since coming to the UK. The local parish church is lovely, friendly, but it’s missing something–the desire to evangelize. They’re missing the desire to grow their church! They’re content with a congregation of 40 people, they’re content with a congregation of ages 50 and above. In one conversation with a congregant, we mentioned how timid people seem to talk about their faith, and the answer we received was that they and their children were bullied in school for being Christian. It seems this have permeated the culture in the UK and it is not culturally acceptable to even speak about religion.
The mums I’ve spoken with at toddlers groups always go out of their way to say that “oh, that’s toddler group doesn’t have anything to do with the church; they just use the building.” As if the say, “don’t worry, your child won’t be required to hear about Jesus or anything–it’s safe for you to go and not worry about them poisoning your mind.”
As I’ve collected this general feeling that speaking about my faith in socially unacceptable, I’ve been feeling lost and guilty. What is there to hide? Don’t these people I’m trying to be friends with need salvation? It didn’t really hit me until yesterday’s evening prayer reading from Hebrews 10:26-end. This excerpt is what shook me:
“But recall those earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and persecution, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion for those who were in prison, and you cheerfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves possessed something better and more lasting. Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great rewards. For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.’in a very little while, the one who is coming will come and will not delay; but my righteous one will live by faith. My soul takes no pleasure in anyone who shrinks back.’ But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved.”
So as I read this, I thought, who cares about being made fun of? Who even cares if these people won’t want to be friends with me? I have something the world needs and it’s Christ. My life should be different, what I talk about will be against the norm!
So after my rant, here’s my how to:
1. SOAK IN SCRIPTURE DAILY. Remember the Daily Office I mentioned in a previous post? Keep praying it every day! God’s word is so different than the world surrounding us. We need that continuous renewing of our minds to know and conform to the will of God. His will isn’t primarily that we have a good and comfortable life. It is to bring Himself glory, that His Name will be lifted high! Distancing your daily thoughts from the empty thought of ‘secular’ life will give you a boldness grounded in the eternal–not the fleeting world of earthly friendships and social status.
2. FIND OTHERS WHO SHARE YOUR FAITH. I don’t know how I would survive without my husband! He and I talk about our faith all the time and we strategize how we are going to wake up this sleepy church and this sleepy village to the desperate need of the gospel.
3. PRACTICE MAKES PERMANENT. Perfection is impossible, so “practice makes perfect” isn’t quite right. But the great thing about practice is that it makes things easier in the long run. You might not feel bold immediately, but as you put yourself out there more and more, you’ll gain experience and become used to it (whether good or bad). Then like riding a bicycle, once you learn, you’ll never forget. You’ll be able to maintain a certain level of boldness if you practice, and your bolder attitude may even be permanent!
4. CHRIST SUFFERED FOR YOU. Will you be bold enough to suffer for him? Thankfully here in the UK and in the US, we don’t even have to suffer prison or death like in other countries. Are you willing to spread His gospel and risk suffering loss of friendship or job? Are you willing to be ridiculed or estranged?
Let’s be bold now and bring our society back to Christ. He has established His church, let’s fill it by sharing our faith with others!