Going Public with Your Faith

More and more I'm seeing the weight of what it means to be a steward of the Christian faith. 
 
When Ghandi said his sobering and thought-provoking words "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ," it reminds me again of the power of our witness - for a good impression or a bad one. It reminds me that actions speak louder than words. And that our actions and words show a glimmer of our heart's condition, our heart's leaning. 
 
  •  Where does my heart lean?  What does my life demonstrate? 

It reminds me that we need our compass with us at all times.   No, we can never be as perfect as our saintly model, but do we really love him? Is he constantly dancing about in our minds - like how it feels when we first fall in humanly love? 

  • I may have my compass but am I actually looking at it and observing it and, most importantly, following it?  
It reminds me that all forms of violence - from the obvious offenses like wars and imperialism to the "everyday" iniquities like manipulation, gossip, unkindness and the violence of an angry thought - is not Christlike, and its insidiousness paramount when Christ's name is used to justify it.  Lately I've been feeling the call to be more public with my faith and my prayer that precedes this is that I would not succumb to such an offense.  Because the more and more I appreciate the freeing message of love and grace, the more heartbreaking it would seem to do so. 

  • "Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.'"  Matthew 24:4 

My life and its works either point to my relationship with Christ or not.  I suppose it's easier for my actions to speak for themselves and that perhaps someone could simply "tell" I'm a Christian without having to profess to being one.  In this manner it is easier because if I make a mistake, I don't defame Christ - at least I wasn't professing to be a follower!  If I "go public" though, it becomes trickier, the expectations are higher.  At that point, I become a "real" steward of the faith.  There is more responsibility to be sober-minded and steadfast in my faith and my walk. 

I'll leave my musings of the night with what I'm calling the "preposterous claims of Christ".  I call them that because in his day and even now, Jesus' claims seemed ludicrous and flabbergasting.  Ludicrous not only in the directness and boldness of the assertions, but the seemingly nonsensical unflappability with which the most basic of human instincts, that of self preservation, was cast aside in favor of hurtling himself towards his own worldly demise by continually threatening the "establishment" with words, actions and claims of freedom from all earthly bondages. 

  • What establishment, what stronghold keeps us from considering the claims? Is the message too preposterous?  Or too primitive for our modern brains? 

I love the flair with which C.S. Lewis regarded this "preposterous message": "I am here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people say about Him:'I am ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I do not accept His claim to be God.' This is the one thing we must not say. "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. "He would be either a lunatic - on the level of a man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. "You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a mad man or something worse. "You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. "But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

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