How to Share your Faith Part 3.
As I said in Part 2, I think one of the reasons we do not take some of the steps outlined by Keller or Wilberforce is because we are afraid. So I would like to finish this post by talking about fearlessness.
Fearlessness is the natural domain of the Christian. In fact God says over 80 times in the Bible “Do not be afraid.” This is especially important to remember when sharing our faith.
God commands us in 2 Timothy 4:5 “Do the work of an evangelist.” But just a few chapters before that we read, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
God has not given you a spirit of fear, so do not be afraid.
In my life I have found that Fearlessness comes from three places- grace, peril, and good deeds.
1) Fearlessness comes from an appreciation of the Gospel of Grace.
Just look at the popular Christmas movie, It’s a wonderful Life. One minute George is so afraid, he does not know what to do other than throw himself into the river. But when he gets a glimpse of what could have been, then he is filled with gratitude and the fear is gone. He comes to a new appreciation of how much grace he has already been given and it makes him fearless even in the face of prison time.
Saint Patrick is another good example of this. Historians have noted how successful he was at evangelizing the Irish. In his confession he tells us,
“Before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and he that is mighty came and in his mercy raised me up indeed lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall. And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for his great favors in this world and forever, that the mind of man cannot measure.”
It was because Patrick had come to appreciate the grace of God who had found him “like a stone lying deep in the mud” that he was fearless as an evangelist.
2) Fearlessness comes from our personal experience of peril.
I took one of my children to see the world cup final in Canada last summer. On the morning after the game we were having breakfast and I took the opportunity to have a dad moment and talk to them about sexual purity. Their eyes were wide as saucers but it was an important subject we needed to cover as they enter adolescence. I was fearless though because I have personally experienced the peril of making bad choices in my life. I was able to fearlessly tell my kids that purity paves the way to intimacy because of my own experience of peril.
Another great example of this is Brian “head” Welch.
He used to play with the band Korn. Brian was hard into drugs and drinking and other destructive behaviors before he met Jesus. After he became a Christian though his witnessing to others was fearless because he had personally experienced the peril of living for himself and giving in to sin. If you listen to his album you will hear how his own experience of peril has made him a fearless evangelist.
3) Fearlessness comes from the disarming nature of good deeds. Jesus said let your good deeds shine. This is so true. When you live out the gospel in tangible ways by caring for the vulnerable, the outcast, and the poor, others see it and get curious. If you do that long enough then people start coming to you asking you why you live the way you do.
Let me tell you, when someone comes to you asking that question, it frees you from fear because you realize they are curious and they actually want to know your story. This has happened with our friends who saw us raising money to provide clean drinking water in India. When we created the 50/50 Well project (facebook.com/5050well) it opened lots of doors to talk about our faith. Of course we did it because we wanted to help people in India get clean drinking water. But the conversations we had with friends and neighbors was a nice byproduct. I have also seen it happen with other families I know who are opening their homes up to house at risk children through Safe Families. When they show such radical hospitality it makes people curious.
The truth is that when we live out Jesus’ command, to lay our lives down for others, it is attractive to the outside world. When selfless deeds, prompted by your love for others, go before you, it leads to a sincere fearlessness in sharing your faith. After all, people are curious and asking us why we are doing these things. We are just answering their questions. We are not trying to push anything on anyone.
If you and I will pay attention to these three areas- grace, peril and good deeds, we will see an increase in our fearlessness. And the good news of God’s grace will reach more and more people as a result.