Sharing Your Faith

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Philemon 6

We don’t talk about this verse often but perhaps we should. I was reluctant to pull it out because I know that as a writer and a teacher, I must also be a doer. Unless you’re outspoken and naturally bold, this verse will be one of the hardest things to do. Please notice, however, that the verse does not say that you need to go on a street corner or in a subway platform to proclaim the Gospel (more power to those who can do that) loudly and boldly.

Paul is praying for Philemon to be active in sharing his faith. That’s it. It’s obviously open for interpretation what “active” actually means. Twice a day, twenty times a week? I think if we play the numbers game we’re missing a critical point.

You see, sharing our faith helps us grow. Why? As the rest of the verse states, we are able to get a good handle of the good things we have in Christ. If we don’t know answers to objections, we get to go back and explore to find answers. We hone our theology and our arguments. We get to explore the mystery of Christ more closely.

The only downside to sharing our faith is the fear of rejection that many of us have. Fear and rejection exist. So does God. Now, given those two basic statements, which do you think is more powerful?

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The Mystery of Christ

And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Colossians 4:3

Most Believers throughout history have pondered what the ‘mystery of Christ’ actually means. Obviously there are as many interpretations of what it means as there are Followers. Here are a few possible meanings of the phrase:

  • Why would the perfect Son of God come to live on earth with sinful, detestable man only to be ridiculed, beaten, then killed?
  • How could an omnipotent God send his Son to live in such squalor conditions?
  • Why did Jesus choose twelve ordinary men to change the world? Even more so, why did He choose Judas as one of the original twelve?
  • Why did He feel the need to forgive the people who were killing him? Why didn’t He call for those twelve legions of angels to protect Him?
  • Why did He have to be born to a Virgin, born in a cow’s trough, raised as a carpenter in a remote little town in the Middle East, and die in relative obscurity?
  • Why does He still entrust the redeeming and world-changing message of the Gospel to frail, reluctant, and sinful Followers?

I’ve only touched the surface. I’m certain there are dozens of additional meanings of that phrase. Asking the question actually highlights the wonder of the phrase. We’ll never know the full meaning but there is considerable value in asking the questions and then pondering the answers.

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Keep Going, Keep Going

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

One story comes to mind that best illustrates this verse (some say the story actually happened; others say it’s urban legend). While waiting for the Maestro to come out to play, a little boy slipped away from his parents and jumped on stage and sat at the piano. He began playing the only thing he knew: Chopsticks. The crowd started murmuring, and many were getting vocal about taking the kid off the stage.

Out from behind the curtains, the Maestro appeared; the murmuring died down. The boy continued to play. The Maestro leaned over the boy and spread out his arms and helped to jazz up Chopsticks. Over and over again the Maestro whispered into the boy’s ear, “Keep going, keep going, you’re doing fine. Don’t worry about them. You’re doing fine. Keep going.”

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father…encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

This is what The Maestro is saying to us: Keep going. Keep at it. Don’t worry about them. You’re doing great! Keep it up. It’s sounding great. Don’t give up. Don’t give up.

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Peace is a Good Thing

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thessalonians 2:13

Again, we come to the theme and prayer for peace. Now more than ever we need peace. One definition is the absence-of-war kind of peace. That’s good and any time countries can sit down and talk things through, it’s a good peace. I’m referring to the conscience-is-clear, the world-may-crumble-before-my-eyes-but-it’s-okay peace. That’s an inner peace that the world can’t give nor can the world take away.

I say we’re in for hard times and it will come on a number of fronts. Economically, the world is in chaos. One clear example of that is the Stock Market. It’s never fluctuated this wildly. Currencies are devaluing and on the verge of collapse. Look at the banking industry; people are very very worried.

Secondly, as Christians in a once free nation, we’ve had it easy for too long. We’ve enjoyed liberties and luxuries our forefathers only dreamed about. But there is a hostility, too, among non-believers. As economies collapse, watch for the political class to find scapegoats and people to blame. I believe we’ll see persecution in the West on the level that we’ve seen it in Asia and Africa these last 100 years.

But again, we have peace and no one can snatch it from us. Continue to pray for that peace as we enter this upcoming era of uncertainty and heartache.

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Boldness

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Ephesians 6:19-20

If you’ve ever wondered what to pray for when you pray for missionaries, this is the perfect start to a prayer. Boldness. Courage. Fearlessness. Clarity. Wisdom.

We too need clarity and boldness when we open our mouths to speak. We need boldness because we often worry about what others think more than what God thinks. We’re products of our own culture. We’re taught to be tolerant and non-discriminatory. We’re taught to be multicultural. Ironically, we’re taught to “think outside the box.” But “the world” doesn’t want us to think outside the box because they think they have us right where they want us: all cooped up inside the box.

But there are some "box breakers” out there already. And as these times become more and more troubled, these box breakers will enjoy being turned loose on an unsuspecting and confused world. They will need others to hold them up in prayer and join them on the battle field, so to speak.

May we be the answer to our own prayer. May we have the boldness and courage to boldly proclaim the Salvation that Jesus Christ offers.

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