03 May, 2017

Walking Out Your Faith

Over the years I have come to realize that many, (maybe even most) Christians are really intimidated by the idea of sharing their faith with others. I am convinced that Jesus did not have any intention for us to fulfill the Great Commission to be such a drudgery and burden, but rather I believe that God intended for us to be witnesses of Jesus Christ as a natural outflow of our daily walk as we live for Him. So, why do we make it complicated? It’s like we think that we must complete a course on evangelism or personal witnessing before getting started. I’m not knocking such programs, for they can be beneficial to us, but the truth is that all God wants from us is to walk out our faith before others.

I think we’d all agree that there's nothing worse than somebody trying to preach to us you about something going on in our life when all we can think about is finding a way to fix the problem. Right? The reality is that at that moment in our life, the last thing we want is somebody wearing a suit, carrying a Bible big enough to choke a mule and acting like they know exactly what we need and how we feel. Let’s be real honest… at those times in our life (especially before we were saved) and some Bible thumper came reading their verses of scripture, we were thinking that we with they’d just quit wasting our time and go away. For some reason, after we’ve been saved awhile, we forget how we felt. We didn’t want some religious person spouting scripture… we wanted someone to show us how to get out of the mess we were in!
This is exactly what makes the prospect of sharing our faith so scary or intimidating. I think that most people would like to help others to Jesus, but not knowing what to say and how to say it stops us dead in our tracks. So how do we share our faith without making people run and hide? The truth is, people can spot a phony from a mile away. That being said, then I have to believe that the absolute worst we thing we can do is to say one thing and do another. In other words, if you are not committed to applying Christian principles in your own life, you will not only be ineffective but will be seen as a phony. I’m convinced that people aren't near as interested in what you say, as they are in seeing how it's working in your life. Please don’t misunderstand, I believe we need to open our mouths and share with others, but first, we must live it out. I often speak to the people of my church and tell them that we must “earn the right to be heard.” Those around us want us to BE a friend, not tell them we are. They want us to show them we love them before we tell them that we do. A hungry person needs to taste the food… not just hear about it.
So, how do we walk out our faith before others? I want to share some practical ways to walk it out.
Be Real: OK, that sounds so cliché. What do I mean?
Be transparent and let people see your faith in action. When we go through a crisis or trial, let them see you with a positive outlook and a good attitude, even in the face of adversity. As we keep our eyes (and faith) on Jesus in the storms of our life, we are “walking out our faith” before the world. Remember when Peter walked on the water? He kept walking as long as he kept his focus on Jesus. But as soon as his attention was drawn off of Jesus and onto the storm around him, he sank. When those around us see us walking through the storms of our life, but still maintaining the peace of Christ, I’ll bet you that they are going to want what you’ve got! But if they see you panic and acting like everyone else, then they will see your faith means nothing, and dismiss it.
Another thing we can do is to treat people with respect and dignity, no matter what the circumstance. Be consistent and show that you always treat people the same, no matter what. Jesus treated people right, even when they mistreated Him. People around you will wonder how you're able to show this kind of respect for others. You never know, they may even ask you about it.
Still another way of walking out our faith is for us to find ways to be a blessing to others. This not only plants seeds for a harvest in our own life, it shows others that you are real and not a fake. Your life speaks louder than words and when we look for ways to bless others, it shows that we live what we believe. Saying you're a Christian is one thing, but walking out our faith in tangible ways every day is something else. The Word tells us that They will know us by our fruit.
Above all don't compromise your beliefs. Situations happen to us every day where we are tested because compromise is not only possible, but many times is expected. This is a real way to show people that your Christianity means living a life of integrity. And yes, that means you tell the cashier that she gave you back too much change or forgot to charge you for an item!
Our willingness to forgive quickly is a powerful way to walk out our faith. As children of the King, we must become a people of forgiveness. I’ve learned that nothing creates division, hostility, and turmoil more than an unwillingness to forgive the people who hurt you… even when you are absolutely right! Being right doesn't give you a free pass to lash out, insult, humiliate or embarrass someone else. Being right doesn't eliminate your responsibility to forgive.
Let me sum all this up in one sentence. The best way to share your faith is to be an example. Walk it out before them and people will want to know how they too can be peaceful in their storm. They will want to know why your kids are not sucked into the traps that theirs do. They will want to know why your marriage is going well… Live it out before them and they will watch and eventually they will ask. And when they ask, we have all kinds of great stuff to share about how good our God is.

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