Thursday, April 23, 2009

Practices of the Christian Faith: Faith-sharing

As we continue our look into the practices of the Christian faith, or Spiritual Disciplines, we cannot avoid the importance of faith sharing. In its strictest form, faith sharing is simply telling another person about what you believe and why you believe it. There have been many programs developed through the years to help insecure believers share their faith in “easy” or more effective ways. This is usually a response to the desire that Christians have to be obedient to God without violating the wishes or comfort of others. 

Faith sharing has often been called by other names; witnessing, testifying, evangelizing or preaching to others. All of these are viewed in a somewhat negative ways by many people. This negative image that faith sharing has developed, has further complicated the willingness of Christians to participate. 

Usually faith sharing has been limited to verbal interactions between two or more people. We are witnessing when we are telling someone else about Jesus. Often these conversations are filled with debate or argumentative exchanges. We try to make a case for our beliefs and discredit the beliefs of others. Many times Christians come across as narrow-minded, bigoted and holier-than-thou. It is little wonder that witnessing has a bad name. 

I am not against a rousing debate. It is important that Christians know and understand what we believe. However, we must be careful that our conversation is filled with grace and love, rather than vitriol and superiority. Make your case, but listen to the views of others as well. 

Here are some suggestions for your faith-sharing endeavors:

  • Focus on living a Christian life. It is really very simple. If you live consistently, day by day, as a follower of Jesus you will be sharing your faith. People will notice your consistency. In just a short time your friends and family members will begin to question why you live the way you do. This will open the door to conversations about Christ and will serve as an example for others.
  • Make friends and develop relationships with people who are not Christians. By doing this you will discover that there are many opportunities to share your faith without the stress of a certain “approach,” or “conversation.”
  • Pray for opportunities to share your faith. God loves this prayer. When we ask God to open these doors for us, he does. You will be amazed at how many people are waiting to hear what you believe.
  • Look for opportunities to share your faith. There are many people that you encounter every day who are open to hearing about your faith. They are ready for what you have to say. Pay attention to the signals and talk about what God has done for you.
  • Practice sharing your faith. You might want to write down a sample “testimony” and practice sharing it with a friend. Be prepared when the day comes.
There are many ways to share your faith, and many opportunities as well. Be sure that you are ready to be obedient to what God has in mind for you. Be obedient and get going.

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