Wow. August is HERE. I feel like this has been the shortest summer I’ve ever had.
I’ve had a lot on my plate and a lot on my mind these past several weeks. And it all came together for me a week ago at church, during the “Saints Around the World” portion of the service.
In my last post, I mentioned that, since I’m not working, I’ve had a lot of time to do things and spend time with my family and to read my Bible more. And I definitely have read my Bible a lot more. And what it’s teaching me has been pretty difficult to swallow.
I’m still learning that God is my Ultimate Provider, and I am going through a book on prayer along with the other women in the church (it’s part of a book club). But lately, I’ve been convicted about expressing my faith.
During the “Saints Around the World” part of our church service, we as a congregation watch videos about fellow Christians in different parts of the world who are being persecuted for their faith. This past Sunday we watched a video about a girl named Fatima, who grew up a Muslim but became an atheist after having a crisis of faith. She then began to study the Bible, and through that, became a Christian. Soon, she began to blog about her faith. She knew she could not express it openly in her own home, but she had to express it somewhere. So she blogged about the things she would learn from reading the Bible daily, and she had many viewers who would comment on her posts. Of course, not all of the comments were positive. She was given intense death threats, but she continued on.
Long story short, her brother (who was Muslim) found out about her blog and was furious. She wrote one last post titled something like, “I Think I’m in Trouble Now”, explaining what had happened, but assuring her followers that she would hold onto her faith in Jesus. Shortly after, her brother killed her in such an awful way. Her own brother.
Listening to this young woman’s testimony about how she was willing to stick to her faith and tell others about it, despite knowing that she may die because of it, shook me to the core. I have mentioned my faith on my blog before, but to just lay out the Gospel for anyone to see, that is just amazing.
I live in America, where I have freedom of religion and am able to speak about my faith openly without being persecuted by the government or worry about being killed for it. And honestly, I feel like I rarely talk about my faith with others whom I don’t know extremely well.
It’s not that I am ashamed of being a Christian. To know that I have a Heavenly Father who loves me, not because of anything I have done, but JUST BECAUSE HE IS GOOD, and displayed His love by sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross for, not only my sins, but also the sins of the entire world is an extremely comforting thing. Yes, I will have to remind myself of these facts constantly, through good days and bad, but when I really stop and think about it, it is so sweet.
Truthfully, when I think about talking about my faith, there are a few reasons why I don’t talk about it with strangers and even some friends very often:
- Fear of being the “party pooper”, “spoil sport”, “stick in the mud” (you get it): I do talk about my faith to my closer friends. Most of them are Christians, so when I bring up God in conversation, they understand. But even so, I feel like always bringing up Jesus or God can make a light-hearted conversation extremely weighty. It’s definitely important to bring up Christianity into what we talk about day-to-day, because Jesus/God/the Bible is the foundation in which our lives should be consistently built on. But for some reason, even as Christians, bringing up what the Bible says about things in conversation can become somewhat “cliche” or overbearing when it really shouldn’t be. Shoot, this whole post about being bold enough to share my faith could be considered cliche. But this has just been on my heart constantly this summer.
- Fear of personal rejection: I mean, who isn’t afraid of this at some point in life, right? There are some nice people out there who are not Christians, and I would love to be friends with them. I should want to befriend them so that I can have the opportunity to talk to them about Jesus. But even if I do talk to strangers or to friends of mine who are not Christians, one of their responses could be full on rejection or even just brushing it off. And I don’t want to be brushed off! I don’t want people to ignore me just because of my faith. And yet, there are people out there dying for their faith. I really have nothing to fear or complain about.
- Fear of faith rejection: Meaning that a person/people I talk to about Jesus decide they never want to become Christians because I am constantly talking about Jesus and it may be annoying or it may make them feel guilty, etc.
And when I look back at these fears of mine, I can only shake my head in shame. The fears I have concerning my Christianity and talking about it with others are so m i n i s c u l e when compared to what people in other countries have to face today because they’re Christians. People are being persecuted i.e. KILLED because of their faith. They don’t care about what other people think of them, and they recognize that only the Holy Spirit can work in the hearts of people. So even if others do reject Christianity, they don’t take it personally, but continue to pray for the salvation of those who don’t know Jesus.
If people in other countries, such as Fatima, can hold onto their faith, even to the point of death, what the heck is stopping me from sharing the Good News to people who don’t know about Jesus here in America where I have freedom to do so? Don’t I want them to experience the peace that Jesus gives? Granted, He said Christian lives would not be easy, but I would rather have a hard life and the comfort of a Savior than an easy life that is completely useless.
Don’t I want those who don’t know Jesus to accept Him and to go to Heaven? Being silent won’t help in that process. And if I am silent, there’s no guarantee that that person will ever have another chance to hear about Jesus. What if I was the only one who could speak that Light into their life?
The more I write about it, the more I want to become like Fatima. Someone who is willing to talk about her faith openly, to blog about it, to be willing to take threats and not get shaken up. She truly lived a brave life. I want a life like that.
Dad asked me last week what I’ve learned while being in California for the summer. No, I haven’t learned how to surf or skate while I’ve been here. But I am being reminded of how important Jesus is in my life. Not that I thought that He was insignificant before, but being at school with a million things going on, I tend to forget what is truly important in my life. And first and foremost, it should be my relationship with Christ.
I remember Honey saying this at a class she was teaching this past week: “Our lives will be as successful as our relationship with Jesus.” If my relationship with Jesus is not straight and is at the end of my priority list, my whole life will not be in order. God may allow things to be okay for a while, but eventually, things will fall apart without Him. And even if I do put my relationship with Him as priority, it doesn’t mean I won’t go through storms. But I will at least have the peace of knowing that I’m not alone as I go through my struggles.
And so, if there’s one thing I want to work on right now and when I return for my last school year, it’s speaking about my faith. I want people to see that there’s something different about me, and I want to have the courage to say that that difference is caused by my faith in Jesus. I’m tired of trying to dodge the subject or speed through my beliefs so I don’t have to talk about God.
I want to be B R A V E.