- Religion and Philosophy
Getting Personal With Christianity # 2
Talking about religion can be hard for Christians in today's climate of personalized Gods. It seems as though each person is suppose to clam up about anything to do with Christ but talk about every other god!
It almost seems as if our society has become anti-Christ! Of course society is anti-Christ--anti-Jesus specifically! The name of the Savior is taboo to speak in public unless someone is blaspheming it in some way!
One of the mandates of Christianity, nevertheless, is to spread the Good News despite the "Babylonian" climate we find ourselves. Christians are suppose to warn all people of the judgement of God so that those who heed will not suffer if they will repent.
Technically the apostles where the ones along with the seventy were set apart and commanded to spread the gospel; however, there is a caveat regarding the regular Saint in the church. We are commanded to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Without making a debate to determine who is our neighbor, we are to share what we have learned about God to all who will listen. If we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves--which is the subject of its own article alone!--then are we not to share with them what has been shared with us? The answer is yes!
That can be intimidating!
This article is about ways to overcome fear of sharing what we believe and fulfilling our Christian duty, while being honest about our fears of so doing. Oh, yeah; it is from my personal perspective of course.
He Is Not One Of Us!
Sharing with other people about what I believe was not easy for me because I was and am afraid of rejection. Most of my friends share my belief system; however, my friends and loved ones who do not are a particular problem for me to share such things and I suppose many others feel like me.
I cherish the relationship with my love ones and friends--family so much that I fear it will be compromised if I open my mouth to them about the joys that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings to my life. I have tried everything I can think of, which tended to be wrong, to overcome this fear.
Most of what I tried forced myself out of my comfort zone, which is good to do on occasion but not in perpetual iteration! It should not be so hard to share about Christ but it is. It is almost as if there is a notion that if I were to share I would be casting my precious jewels before people who cannot see the value. Does that sound familiar?
The other side of that coin is that I am selfish and do not want my family (includes friends) to have what I have and feel what I feel about God. I know that is not true; or is it? Do I subconsciously want to horde all the blessings to myself? Do I think I am better than the others because my beliefs make me stand apart from the others and I want that attention?
It is really important for me to answer those questions honestly so that I can know how to approach God for help in changing if I find my answers unacceptable. Maybe there are Christians out there who have thought of these things?
Sharing the Gospel takes time and energy that many Christians just want to expend doing something else, but share it we should. Mitigating circumstances from the past may cause us pause in sharing the gospel like bad experiences.
The Bad Experience
Case in point: In 1992 I was a new Christian alive in the Gospel of Christ. I could not be conquered because my joy was new and completely confident in what I believed to be true. Sadly, prior to my joy in Christ I experienced encounters with some evil spirits that I was able to overcome through my faith in Him. Yeah, I know that read strangely and it is strange, believe me!
Now, it is not recommended that Christians share these negative experiences with those who are new to Christian life, but I did. I traveled with some missionaries to visit and discuss the gospel in a young family's home.
The father asked us if the devil and demons are real. I chimed in with my experiences which spooked the man severely. This man had so taken to my shared experiences and so poignantly affected by them that he had nightmares about it all that night.
Needless to say, though I will say, he in definite terms wanted nothing to do with us anymore. Certainly if I had shared the good that God has provided for me rather than the bad the devil provided things may have gone differently.
The time will come when the bad experience will be appropriate to share, but a first meeting is not one of them. That guy thought I was a freak! I did not fit in to what he expected a Christian should be. Most of us if not all of us can be labeled something, but the majority of people do not want to stand out.
The missionaries told me later that the man did not want me in particular to speak to his family again because of my detailed focus on the dark side of life. I lost my confidence a little, but I learned the lesson I needed to learn: a simple yes to his question would have sufficed!
Sometimes a earnest and thoughtful conversation on the part of the sharer is not received with the same token with which it was intended. This can lead to finicky sharing behavior when it comes to beliefs. As I mentioned before we do not want to scare people away!
Those who are seasoned missionaries can share their beliefs with ease and finesse enough to capture the hearts of individuals and groups alike. The only thing that can go wrong in sharing the faith with these types of Christians is when they get the support of the over-zealous Christian--someone who is oblivious to the effects his or her behavior has on those around him or her.
Picture this: You have just shared with your friend or co-worker about the Christian concept of Resurrection and the conversation about that ONE concept went well. The person you shared your belief with comments and ask questions and there is a nice dialogue going on. There is a peaceful spirit and goodwill in the exchange of and respect for ideology. Your are vibing!
A fellow Christian overhears the conversation and decides to chime in and talk about, I don't know, demons!
Good will!? Gone. Peaceful feelings? Cold.
A Christian who butts in to the conversation can cause fear of sharing religious feelings with others because that OTHER sharer my hijack the conversation and destroy the budding connection with the potential learner. Not to mention, but of course I will, the pearls of faith the Christian who originally shared will seem as if they were disregarded.
The third party may not have intended to destroy the harmony and dialogue of the conversation, but it can happen and will happen if it has not already happened--multiple times too-- to all of us in the course of our daily walk with Christ.
The potential learner will then get to look at us with a strange expression and raised eyebrow. We cannot dismiss our Christian sibling without breaking a few of God's commandments and the situation becomes awkward.
If it is not evident in my writing that I am really fixated with remembering my first experience sharing the gospel, I will admit it here. I am fixated with my experience of sharing the gospel for the first time, specifically not letting it happen again--the foot in my mouth part that is!
Remember dear, dear reader; I am sharing from my perspective hoping that some of you can relate to the feelings that I sometimes have about sharing my beliefs. I do not think that it ever goes away completely--the butterflies in the belly or the desire to just stay quiet--but it does get easier as we learn how to share the message.
I hate to make a sales reference when talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the best way for me to relate it, however.
I saw a commercial that blew me away earlier this year because of how convincing it was at eliciting a response from my materialistic side to purchase it. The commercial showed me how effectively it convinced a few interviewees that a weapon of mass destruction had struck in their city, the video to the right.
The most effective way that Christians can share the Gospel of Jesus Christ is through demonstration. Does the gospel make us happy? Does it give peace in our life? It will show in our daily walk without words ever having to leave our lips. Our behavior may cause another person to ask us about our beliefs.
The Message that we have to share is the knowledge that life is not meaningless and we can have salvation by following Jesus Christ's teachings. Well, the message is Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead. That other stuff about the salvation and peace are natural occurrences because of Him. We call it the Atonement.
It may take a lifetime to understand fully the efficacy of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made in suffering for our sins and hurts as can be found in the book of Isaiah. We may never in this life understand the science of His resurrection along with all of the saints who had bee dead who rose immediately after Him.
It only takes a few moments to share our faith about how we believe that it is true that we can be saved through the grace of Christ because He paid the penalty for our sins, which is death; and He suffered for those sins that we would not have to suffer if we would just follow Him.
What say you?
Did You Know Christians are Supposed to Share the Gospel with Others?
Sharing, Count the Ways!
Guilt is a motivating factor to share the Gospel. The scriptures can elicit much that seems to be in the form of chastisement that leads to guilt, then repentance. If all the tools of sharing the Gospel are not explained to a person it could lead to a bad experience which can further exacerbate a desire to share. I don't like to feel guilty. It works though.
First and foremost about the gospel is honesty. There is nothing more damaging to Christians than faith promoting lies.
NEVER should we pretend to any experience so that we can build the faith of others or interest other people in our belief system. In the end, faith based on a lie is an abomination to God to say the least! There is a scripture that comes to mind: Proverbs 31:16-17.
These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
A proud look,a lying tongue....
A Christian who feels that it is appropriate to invent fictitious stories and peddle them as truth shows no faith in the power of God and shows a form of Godliness but denies the power of God. In other words, that person does not trust that God will reveal Himself to potential converts and feels that he or she knows better than God.
The moral of the story is be honest always. If the principles of the gospel are a sore trial for you, but you are holding on in faith like Job, then be true to that experience. If we are not happy, we are not to pretend. We are also not to be miserly either--a tortured soul so that others would think that we are pious! There is a fine balance we should attempt to maintain with the hope that peace will come through Christ's teachings.
If what we Christians believe is of worth, there is no need to fib about it.
Sharing the Gospel can occur through acts of service or random kindness. The most important place Christians will share the Gospel is in the home. Start there first with kindness and service then radiate out. A sign of true Christianity is how we get along with our family and in our community. Jesus Christ was love both of God and men as he grew towards His ministry. Service will lead others to question why we, as the servers do the things that we do. It may eve lead them to do the same works and seek out Christ.
Sometimes instead of repentance some Christians experience other things like I-am-not-a-missionary disorder or I-am-not-going-to-church-anymore syndrome. I am sure all are familiar with holier-than-thou-itis and condescension-oids.
Due to a lack of faith, some of us will fall into these categories spiritual illness. It would not be conducive to the Spirit of God to accuse a Christian of these ailments, but knowing why a person may experience these woes may help to avoid falling into the same pit!
Fear is the big motivator for all but holier-than-thou-itis and condescension-oids. Fear can cause us to avoid fulfilling our responsibility to share and thereby forget the importance of the covenant. If we do not think of it, then we will not share it. avoiding church or concluding that we are not appropriate missionary people are ways to deal with the guilt associated with not fulfilling a Christian duty. Pride is also associated with those excuses--a refusal to change or try to change to meet the demands of true Christianity.
Pride is associated with holier-than-thou-itis and condescension-oids. There are so many spiritual disorders that pride underlie which cannot be covered in this article. Pride gives people the false sense that they are somehow better than others because they are chosen to be called the people of God. Simply, the Gospel is free to all people. God will hold all of us accountable who refuse to share the truths that we enjoy due to the pride of self indulgence.
In the last days, it is said that men or people shall be lovers of themselves. What better way for a person to love him or herself than to think him or herself superior than others?
Through many personal and vivid experiences, I have come to a sure spiritual knowledge that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the way to eternal happiness and immediate peace if applied with earnest. It is okay for us to have apprehension about sharing things with others. We can learn to deal with the butterflies in our tummies while actually using one of, or multiples of the many ways to share the gospel--the ways that suit our talents and gifts.
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© 2014 Rodric Johnson