We live in fairly small town but I think more than anything it feels small cause we can't go anywhere without running into someone my husband knows. For the first year we dated, I found it entertaining to listen to him speak and to see the reaction on people's faces. When we would run into someone he knew, they would ask what he's been up to and he would always tell them the same thing. "Oh you haven't heard, I gave my life to God and have been walking with Jesus."
My husband lived a tough life in his BC (before Christ) days. Let's just say he was a thug. Anyone who knew how bad he was previously would be so caught off guard that their faces would express an array of emotions ranging from both excitement to doubt. But as they would listen to him speak and see how much love for the Lord he had you could almost physically see the doubt begin to evaporate.
Even now, a few years into his walk with the Lord people are still surprised to see the work that has been done in him. Though I didn't actually know him in his BC days, I've heard stories and know that God has literally done a 180 in him. It always makes me think of the woman who anointed Jesus with her tears and expensive perfume in Luke 7. Her display of affection for Jesus is what testified to her Love and acknowledgement for all she had been forgiven for. Despite being criticized, she didn't stop showing her Love for Jesus. And because of that Jesus corrected those who spoke against her. This is what He said, “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”
This is Luis in a nut shell. He knows how much God has forgiven him for and never forgets what his life would be like had it not been for Jesus. And because of this, it translates into how he lives his life. He can and will literally sneak God into any and all conversations. Anyone who will listen to him, is going to hear about God and how much He's changed his life for the better. He has the most uncompromising faith of anyone I've ever met.
As his wife, I sometimes feel like I'm in his shadow. It's like he's so comfortable and confident displaying his faith for everyone to see. Me, I sometimes feel more reserved. I used to tell myself well he's just "called" to be an evangelist and I'm not. Or he's just "gifted" in exhortation and prophetics and those just aren't my "giftings".
Then one day God spoke to me on this. He said, "it's not that he's been gifted in those areas or even that he has a special calling in them, but the truth is it's just that he's obedient in it."
Here I am making up excuses for my fear and lack of obedience when God commands us to "Go and make disciples." We should be sharing the Gospel, but here I am putting a lamp shade over my light, living in fear that I may make someone uncomfortable by expressing my faith.
How sad is that? How wrong is it that we are more concerned with making "man" uncomfortable than letting down God. And if we take it deeper, we are actually more concerned with this than we are scared of being dammed to hell through disobedience which is ultimately sin.
Jesus wasn't afraid to speak truth. He wasn't afraid to offend anyone by doing what was right. He was the one in the temples flipping tables and telling the pharisees off. I've mentioned this before but we are called to be like Him, we are called to show who He is by our actions and to reflect Him.
1 Peter 2:9 says;
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.
God purchased us and specifically chose us, that we would display (reflect) the virtues and perfections of Him. The original translation said to set forth which was described in the Greek translation as to make known by praising or proclaiming. The word proclaim literally means to announce publicly. So in other words, God wants us to tell people about His character both verbally and by displaying it in how we reflect Him and proclaim our praise for Him in our actions.
In my Bible, there is an introduction to each book that gives a summary about the author and a plot outline. In Romans, there is a captivating statement that says, "The Good news of Jesus Christ is more than facts to be believed; it is also a life to be lived."
What does it look like to live out the Gospel in our day to day lives? Are we pronouncing it publicly? Or are we shying away in fear of offense and lack of confidence?
Romans 1:16 says:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Unashamed is defined as to express or act openly without guilt or embarrassment. Are we doing that? Is that how we would define our relationship with the Gospel? Do we openly share the Gospel without guilt, without embarrassment? I'll be honest, I struggle with this still. My husband is amazing at it, but me? Well I love Jesus, and I will openly discuss my trials and testimonies with those "I know" are receptive, but does everyone I meet know that I'm a Christian? I don't know. I don't know that I am as transparent as I could (should) be. I don't know that I'm that confident in how to bring up my faith. For my husband it's natural and it just happens. But for me it's not as easy. I can talk to believers all day about God and His works in me, but Romans 1:16 says "then to the gentiles." We have to find ways to share the gospel with non believers. Yes sometimes this is more so by our actions than our words but non believers should know that there's something that sets us apart.
I realized this was a problem for me when my husband overheard a conversation between my sister and I. After i got off the phone, he pointed out not one but several missed opportunities to share God's word with her and to even correct her on false worldly beliefs. Not only that but I even went so far as to subtly down play or casually omit sharing some of God's blessings in my life. I don't know why I did that but I can think of other times that's happened when talking among non believers.
Luke 11:33 says:
"No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house."
And Matthew 5:15 says:
"Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. "
But this is exactly what we do. Maybe not you cause you're amazing ;) but this is exactly what I've been doing. I've been putting a lampshade over the light that's in me. I've been hiding under this place of comfort and disobedience rather than sharing the Gospel with those I'm encountering daily. I am better than this, I have to be. God has done so much in me and I really do want everyone to know. That is why I started this blog in the first place. To share with as many people as possible what God can do for each of you too.
Faith is contagious. When we share, it gives people hope that they can have the same encounters whether it be in the form of salvation, deliverance, healing or any other type of break through. If you need encouragement to be bold, try spending time with a new believer. Being around a new believer who's on fire can re-light the fire of anyone who's losing hope or faith.
Look what the Lord said through John in revelations:
“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches."
When you first fall in love with anyone or anything, the fire is fresh. You're like a blooming bride who gushes about her affection for her groom. This is what God wants from us. He wants us to return to this place and remember how we felt about our salvation in the beginning; to do the things we did when we first gave our lives to Him. If you are a new believer reading this, hold on to that. Remind yourself daily of all that you have been forgiven from and boldly tell people about the Lord. Spend time with other believers in general and develop relationships within the Kingdom. This presents a safe place for us to practice and establish a level of comfort in expressing our faith and sharing our beliefs. Eventually; it will become more natural for all of us to share outside that space. Hence why Paul said, "first the Jew then the Gentile." Aka practice first with the believer but then take the Gospel to the unbeliever.
We must be unashamed to display our faith, to share the character of God. We can't put a lamp shade over our faith and hide it from those around us. Instead we must give them our light. If you have to sing the song sing it, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine!"
I leave you with this,
"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)"