Talking about our Faith (November 2016)

Surveys in this country show that two thirds of people who have no faith know somebody who is a Christian.  Most think positively about the Christians they know, and the same surveys show that about 20% (one fifth) of people are open to getting to know Jesus better.  Taken together, that means that those of us with faith have quite a responsibility to help bring the non-Christians we know to Jesus.

 That does not mean that every conversation we have with a non-Christian will be positive (one fifth of people are open, that means that four fifths are not so open).  But it does mean that we are to persevere.  That does not mean artificially trying to squeeze Jesus into every conversation (that makes me cringe, and I am sure it can be counter-productive).  But it does mean being ready to answer anybody who asks about your Christian faith.  It does mean being willing to talk about your Christian faith.  It does mean for example offering to pray for somebody going through a difficulty.  It does mean for example inviting somebody to a particular event or service at the church.  Or what about suggesting meeting them at our Outreach café for a drink and a cake?

People sometimes worry that if they talk about their faith, they will be laughed at or worse.  In my experience, if you are sincere about what you say, and people realise that you truly believe what you say, they are less likely to laugh at you.  Just occasionally people will try to be unkind because you have talked about your faith (and many young people in school experience this) – if that happens, stand firm and be encouraged, because Jesus had to suffer just that (and worse) and it is in effect a compliment that you are being seen as representing God so that you are attacked.

Sometimes people worry about talking about their faith in case they are asked something they won’t know the answer to.  Well, if I was to wait indoors and not meet anybody until I felt I knew every answer to every conceivable question, I would become a recluse!  I am all the time asked awkward questions I don’t know the answer to.    What I do if I am facing difficult questions, or I am worried about what to say, is I pray asking God through his Holy Spirit to give me the right words.   I think we need to have confidence in God.  He has placed his confidence in us, he trusts us to be his representatives (he is the one who gave us faith), and gives us his Holy Spirit to help us with that.  So, we need to trust Him to provide us with the necessary answers.  Or, if we do not have an answer for the awkward question, he will provide us with the right gracious answer that is needed at the time.   It is alright sometimes to say we don’t know the answer – there are plenty of things in this world that only God knows the answer to!

But all of us who are Christians are in a very privileged position in our society – many people around us do not share our faith, but are keen and interested to know more.  God has entrusted us with  this position, so let us ensure we live up to that trust, and are always ready with an answer if people ask us about it.

Tina Upton

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