33. Is Faith Meant To Be Private?

by Nov 6, 20232023

Yes, faith is a very private thing, as it is the result of our personal life journey. It is a reaction to the evidence of a Creator seen in the beauty of creation. Such evidence couples with our individual, intimate thoughts and desires in response to God’s unique revelation of Himself to us. Our faith develops in response, not only to beauty, but also to hardship, loss, and pain.

Yet these encounters by themselves, only prepare us for our response to the Gospel story. To the invitation to accept Jesus as our Savior, to have our sins forgiven and to begin a new life.

It is all these personal experiences that help us to recognize the depth of His love, and the price that Jesus paid. 

The Good News

John 1:10-12 tells us that He came into the world He had made but was not recognized by His own. Yet for those who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become His children (personal paraphrase). When, through the wonderous working of God, we believe in the One who knew no sin, but became sin for us, THEN we become the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21, personal paraphrase).

There has never been or ever will be any better news than the Gospel (good news) of God’s love for us. So, is faith private? Yes, but after we realize what is available to all of mankind, how could we choose to not tell others?! 

The Challenge

And there’s the rub. Because if we’re honest with ourselves, how many of us are consciously living with this goal in mind as we go about our daily lives? Maybe you fall in the camp of those who do think about it. So, then I ask, when was the last time you shared your faith or the Good News of Jesus with someone? 

Ouch! I confess that in certain seasons of my life, I’ve gone more than a year without sharing the Gospel. When I think of that, I’m embarrassed. Saddened that for some reason – perhaps many reasons – I have regularly failed in this area. Perhaps as you read this, you feel the same.  I hope you do. Not because I want you to become depressed or berate yourself for failing to obey a command of Jesus. Rather, my prayer is that such awareness and honesty will bring about conviction and a desire to begin doing so.

The call and implication of 2 Corinthians 5:20 did not end with the Apostle Paul and Timothy, who wrote the letter. To quote, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us.”  It’s so easy for us as believers to speak about being saved from our sins and reconciled to God. We may also experience the joy and benefit of a relationship with God. But are we following this example, seeking to introduce others to the gift of reconciliation? What is it that causes us to keep our faith private? 

What Holds Us Back?

When we get a good tip on a wise investment in the stock market, we’re usually quick to pass it on. Similarly, news of big savings at a store can spread like wildfire. If we have come to a personal, saving faith in Jesus and now possess the best story and gift ever made known to man, what holds us back from sharing it?

Candidly, it is often our fear of rejection. Our concern that we will be viewed as “weird” or “too radical” within our circle of friends and family. In short, it’s our pride and natural selfish tendencies that silence us from speaking about Jesus. That keep us “busy” with all the details and demands of our day-to-day lives, rather than actively seeking opportunities to share the Gospel and our faith. Yes, those day-to-day details are real and necessary, AND they can so easily become a distraction from our calling and obedience to God’s Word. 

Taking A Practical Approach

So, what would happen if we began looking at this command not as a duty, but as an honor? In Romans 1:1 (CSB), the Apostle Paul describes himself as being “set apart for the gospel of God.” We are not called as an apostle, nor perhaps called to be like the evangelist, Billy Graham, who preached to millions. But this doesn’t mean we aren’t called to share at all.  

A friend of Q4 Impact has a daily practice of asking the Lord to help her be aware of what and who God may put before her for His purposes. By bringing such conscious intentionality into our daily lives, we begin to see the opportunities before us. As the saying goes, “we find what we look for.” 

Can it feel awkward at times? Yes. AND sharing your faith and good news of Jesus can also be natural. Opportunities can exist at doctor appointments, the carwash, or a sports field. Rather than defaulting to your phone, a magazine or chatting with the same friend, look around, and ask the Lord how He is leading. Will you allow the weight and significance of NOT sharing the gospel with others, serve to encourage your willingness and efforts?  

Encouraging the Growth of Faith

Perhaps you’re thinking, “But Ron, there really aren’t any unbelievers in my sphere of influence that need to hear the gospel.” To this I challenge that sharing your faith isn’t only the message of salvation. Hebrews 10:24 says, “And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works” (CBS). When was the last time you asked deeper questions of fellow believers? Questions like, “How is your walk with God?” or “Where are you struggling?” Again, our faith may be uniquely personal, but when we join the body of Christ, we are called to encourage one another in our Christian lives (2 Corinthians 13:11, NIV).  

Committing To Tell The Story

Friends, there is no better story to tell. There is no better gift to offer than the redeeming love of Jesus, the promised Messiah. So yes, our faith is private, but once it takes root, we are ALL called to share it as often as we can.  The famous quote by Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,” is applicable here. We set goals for ourselves in many other areas of life. Why not this one? Will you prayerfully seek the Lord about what’s preventing you from setting a goal to share the good news of Jesus? Better yet, WILL you set a goal to share a certain number of times per year, and then ask the Lord to create those opportunities?  

As I head into my final years, I am more compelled to share with others and be more bold than ever before. I want to be bold AND respectful, continually learning how I can introduce others to the Savior in effective ways. Will you join me?