This means that we should live and act in a way that is indicative of God’s Word. Scripture makes it abundantly clear that we should have the conviction to stand up for our faith, while at the same time, practice showing love and wisdom and making sure that our personal example backs up our words. Letting others seeing Jesus in us is the most amazing witness ever. People may not always believe in our Jesus, but they cannot deny seeing Jesus at work in us. That, in itself, is a witness.
This past Christmas, I was standing in front of a large group of women at the corporate offices of a major bank. I had been contracted to teach a secular class about Holiday Stress Management.
Most of the class content focused on simple life/holiday balancing tips, but soon we came to a section of the material that discussed tolerance of religions during the holidays. Although I had studied the material ahead of time, I felt my temperature rise when I neared this discussion. I presented some basic information that was included in the curriculum, and then allowed time for discussion. Many women talked amongst themselves and some offered some feedback for the group, but the big question finally came.
One woman raised her hand and asked, “as a Christian, what should I do when my employer tells me that I cannot have a “Christmas” party, but only a holiday party. What do I do when I am told not to display manger scenes in my cubicle, because it might offend someone?”
I could feel my face getting hot. Actually I was sweating all over. Thoughts raced through my mind as I considered that my job could be on the line, depending on how I answered that question. But what was truly being impressed upon my heart, was that my faith was on the line. Who would I stand for? Jesus or political correctness? Who would I aim to please? Jesus or a big wig manager sitting in his leather chair?
I knew the politically correct answer. I knew the corporately correct answer. I knew the answer that this organization would expect me to provide on their behalf, to support their politically correct, non-religious,-non-discriminative, overly-tolerant policies of everyones varying beliefs. And I understand why corporations feel pressured to be so neutral. I knew that from a business standpoint, I should straddle the fence, skirt the real issue, and give an answer that would appeal to everyone in the room.
What seemed like eternity was really only a few seconds, as I struggled with which road to travel. Im proud to say that in this situation, I chose the road less traveled. I expressed my Christian beliefs in a non-judgemental way, and explained what I believed Christmas to be all about – based on my God sending His son Jesus to be born in a manger, eventually to die on a cross for me, so that I could be forgiven, enjoy my earthly life by striving for things that would please Him, and spend eternal life with Him when my time here is over.
I also expressed my overwhelming sadness for our societys attempt to remove Christ from Christmas, and how I wanted to encourage every Christian in that room to stand up with confidence for their beliefs, at work, at the mall, and in their homes.
I reminded them that Christianity is normally the religion that gets pushed to the back burner, while other religions are given much more tolerance. I encouraged them to hang Merry CHRISTmas signs in their cubicles, regardless of the political stigmas. I sensed my rational mind saying “whooooaaaa nelly!”, but my words just flowed out from the depths of my heart. It was an opportunity that I had prayed for, and when the time arose, it was as if a dam broke, the flood waters rose, and the nothing could hold the words back!
I received some supportive applause, an Amen or two, a few cold glares, and to my surprise, a few looks of intrigue. Whether or not my words were ever discussed among that group after I left, I will never know. But I do know that I stood up for Christ, and possibly planted a seed that needed to be strown on good soil, to a persons heart who needed to hear or be reminded of the real meaning of Christmas that the world tries so hard to keep secret.
This was a mountaintop experience for me, and I felt really good about it. But unfortunately, there have been other times, when I was not so bold. Times when I felt that the potential consequences of standing up for my faith were too great. Times when I worried about what people would think, and didnt trust God to guide my words and control the outcome. As a result, I hid my light under a bushel, just to fit in.
Today I am certainly much more bold in my faith than I was in the past. I feel much more confident in living out loud for Christ…..but I wonder….what if I was truly put to the test today to stand up for Christ? What if I had to make the choice to deny Christ and live, or speak for Christ and die? What if I was faced with a situation like Cassie René Bernall, from Columbine High School, who when asked if she loved her Jesus, she said yes – at all costs. Cassie didnt lose a job for standing up for her faith, she lost her life. Would I really be willing to do that?
Jesus never intended for sharing His word to be a scary, impossible, sweat-inducing burden. After all, it is a message of love and salvation, but the world has made transparency, especially when it comes to having bold faith, a scary undertaking at times.
God meant for us to be witnesses of Jesus Christ through the natural outcome of living our lives with Him, through Him, and for Him. Sometimes it is easy, other times it is hard. But He presents opportunities to share the good news each day, and I have to wonder, how often are we too preoccupied with life and our own personal inhibitions to grasp those opportunities?
If we want to be bold for Christ, which in the long run causes our faith to grow, here are a few suggestions that might help us take those first little steps towards being a light for Him:
1) Try to start seeing people through Gods eyes, not your own.
2) Write out your testimony, or any story where God has moved in your life, and study it. Be ready to talk about it whenever the opportunity presents itself.
3) Dont try to impress people with Christian lingo, just tell the easy to understand facts.
4) Build relationships. Once someone believes that you care about them as a person, they are all ears, ready to listen to whatever it is you have to say.
5) Pray for God to bring someone into your path whom you can witness to.
6) Study Gods word so you will be knowledgeable about discussing it.
These are merely a few ideas, but it might help us jump start the action! Sharing your faith is kind of like riding a bike – once you take off the training wheels, you feel more confident than ever! And remember, our God is something to be proud of.
Challege #4: Share your faith with three people today.
Mark 16:15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”
Psalm 66:16 Come and listen, all you who fear God;let me tell you what he has done for me
Prayer for today: Dear Jesus, I know I need to share your Word, so forgive me for not always doing that. Sometimes I just worry about public opinion or negative consequences, but I know that my trust is in you, you are my shield and my protection, and that you will always reign over everything. Sometimes, I simply get so bogged down with life, that I forget to allow you to use me to minister to others. Sometimes I just get stuck in my own agenda, and forget. Forgive me.
Lord, I ask that you bring 3 people into my path who need to hear a Word from you, who need a pat on the back, a hug or some simply encouragement; or who need to hear that You love them. Convict my heart as to who I am to minister to. Fill my mouth with words of wisdom for this person. Help me Lord. I know that once I get started, it will become a beautiful habit that I will no longer be hesitant to do. I cant wait to see how you are going to impact lives today through me!
In Jesus name, Amen