Feb 11, 2014

Why I Don't Share My Faith vs. Why I Do Share My Faith

Almost every Christian feels the responsibility to share their faith to non-Christians.  However, most Christians rarely, if ever, share their faith with someone.   Hey, I’m there.  I hate to admit it, but I don’t share my faith as often as I should.   I’m one of those people who starts feeling really guilty when the preacher preaches on witnessing...and I am the preacher!   Listen, don’t get me wrong, I want more people to be saved, I pray for people to be saved, and I do share my faith...but I not as much as I think I should.  Why is that? 

I have recently felt very convicted about this and I've started thinking about the why and why not.  So I’ve put together two lists.  The first list is 15 reasons why I think I don’t witness.  The second list is 25 reasons that I’ve found as to why I do witness.  I hope these lists will challenge you, convict you, and encourage you as they’ve done for me.   It's my prayer and hope that the first list continues to get shorter and the second list continues to get longer.

15 Reasons Why I Don’t Witness
1.       I am afraid.
2.       I am too selfish. 
3.       It’s just easier not to talk about faith.
4.       I don’t really know what to say.
5.       I am too busy.
6.       I am too shallow in my relationships. 
We have a tendency to keep our relationships with people at surface level.  We do this by keeping our conversations with neighbors, coworkers, and relatives at a small talk level, things like just talking about work, sports, weather, etc., never really rarely engaging people on a deeper and more meaningful level.  Therefore, we don’t feel comfortable talking about heaven, hell, Jesus, or religion with them.
7.       My lifestyle is sometime a contradiction to the truth that I believe.   
8.       I don’t think about the urgency. 
We have a tendency to live life in the ‘here and now’ and don’t think much about the fact that at any moment eternity could be here and we could all be standing before the judgment of God.
9.       I don't see people as a soul or see them in light of eternity. 
10.   I enjoy being accepted.  
We don’t want to be ‘that guy’ or ‘that girl’ that everyone avoids because they talk about Jesus.  We are afraid that if we share Jesus with people then we run the risk of losing our friendship with them.  We like the fact people like us and don’t want to do anything that would cause people not to like us.
11.   I don't want to stick my nose in someone's business.
12.   I don't like confrontation.
13.   People have questions and I don't have all the answers. 
People have critical questions about God, Christianity, and life.  These questions are big and sometimes loaded.  Opening up a simple conversation about faith is like opening Pandora’s Box of questions about Christianity that we need experts, professors, scientists, pastors, and philosophers to help us answer.
14.   There doesn't seem to ever be the right timing.
15.   People will think I'm judging them. 

25 Reason I Do Witness
1.       I am called and commanded to.
2.       Eternity is a long time.
3.       Heaven and hell are real.
4.       I may be their closest and best contact with the true Gospel.
5.       Most people have not really heard a clear gospel presentation.  
6.       In the back of their mind most people still wonder what will happen to them when they die.  
There are some people who believe there is nothing after death, but they are a very small minority.  Most people want heaven when they die.  The big question is exactly how can you be certain of heaven.
7.       I know enough.
If you knew enough to be saved, then you know enough to help someone else be saved.
8.       I have a story to tell. 
You have a testimony.  You have witnessed the work of God in your life if you are saved.  All you have to do is tell someone that story.
9.       I am be blessed when I do.
       Philemon 1:6 “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.”
10.   I am not the one who saves someone anyway. 
No matter how smart, well crafted, convincing, emotional, or inspirational your evangelism is it will not save anyone.  Jesus saves, only Jesus.  It’s up to you to speak, it’s up to him to save.  We get the easy part.
11.   It's not as confrontational as I think. 
Witnessing is not winning an argument.  Don’t be condescending, be willing to listen, be kind, be honest, show compassion, and be passionate.  You don’t need a megaphone or a large sign to lead someone to Christ.
12.   I really do care about my friends and family. 
13.   I am loved and respected by other people. 
People will listen to you.  Believe it or not there are people that look up to you and respect you.  Many of the people you need to share your faith with probably love and respect you enough to listen to you and give you an opportunity to share your faith if you ask.
14.   I don't have my life all together and nobody expects me to.
15.   I am not alone. 
You've heard, “you may be the only Jesus people will ever know.”  I hope that’s not true, because I make a pretty lousy Jesus sometimes.   The scripture says, “We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses.”  We aren’t alone when we witness.  You have an incredible support system made up of the Holy Spirit, the church, and the countless other Christians around you.
16.   There are tons of unique ways to share my faith.  
17.   No one expects me to have all the answers.  
So often we are afraid of people’s questions and fear that our inability to answer all their faith questions could show that there is a weakness in the faith.  Listen, most people don’t expect you to know everything, they probably already know you don’t.  Your inability to answer all their questions won’t surprise them and won’t diminish the opportunity you have to plant a solid gospel seed.
18.   There are lots of people I know who can help me answer tough questions.
19.   I have not been given a spirit of fear.  
2 Timothy 1:7  “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control”
20.   People want what I have. 
People want joy.  People want peace.  People want joy.  People want forgiveness.  People want to go to heaven.  We have all of these things and we know how they can get them too.
21.   There is power in the gospel.
Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes”
22.   I always accomplish something when I do witness. 
A seed is planted, love is shown, and a person is just that much closer to believing.
23.   I have prayer. 
They may ignore our words and reject our message, but people are powerless against our prayers.
24.   Jesus paid too much to save me for me to be silent about it.
25.   Because Jesus worked for me. 
He did and I will never be the same.  Now, this should not be the only reason we give people for why the gospel is true.  There are a lot of reasons for belief that are much deeper than this one.  But, it is still true, and it’s probably still one of the most convincing personal evidences of the power of the gospel.

I am ashamed of the first list.  My first list exposes my selfishness, my lack of courage, my lack of faith, and my disobedience.  As I wrote the first list there were many tears shed and much repentance.  I am convicted by this list and I am grateful for God’s forgiveness and grace to me even sometimes these things are true of me.  I’m ashamed of the first list, but I’m not ashamed of the second list!  There are a lot more reasons to share your faith than to sit in silence.  I am grateful that more and more throughout my growth in Christ the reasons on the second list have overridden the reasons on the first and that I have had the courage the share my faith with people.  It’s my prayer that this second list continues to override my first list more often.  It’s my prayer for you too that your reasons for sharing your faith would be greater than for remaining silent.