Why is is that sharing the good news of Jesus terrifies so many of us? When we have found relief and love in the redemption the Lord has/is for us, why do we still hesitate to open up and discuss our faith? Maybe this was not your experience when coming into an understanding of what a relationship with Jesus looks like, and what that means for you, but for so many of us (myself included) this was the case.
I could really sum up the entirety of the feeling(s) that lead to the tight-lipped new believer in one word: fear.
While fear is the basis behind the lack of outward enthusiasm of many new believers, breaking it down leaves us with much more complex thoughts and emotions to process. I do believe that there is also an aspect of personal unbelief, if-you-will, that stays present for many of us in the beginning, until we truly let go and allow the love of Christ to radically change us. I know for myself and many others I have spoken to that there was an underlying fear of being judged. A fear of being a hypocrite if not turning one’s life and will over to the ways of Christ, when we still aren’t ready to give up old and current ways of living. A fear of the unknown, and not being able to measure up. A fear that there will still be rejection in the community of Christ, and that possibly all the hype is a bit too amped up to be tangible and real. A fear, a fear, a fear…
I did believe in the love and radical teachings of Jesus; truly, I did. Looking back on my journey I recall feeling equally a part and not a part of a faith-based community. I struggled to find my “footing” which led me to succumb to a fear that wouldn’t allow me to fully turn my life over. How could I openly discuss the Bible, or even say “Jesus” out loud? It was a struggle for many years because I was so resistant to so many of the things God was laying on my heart that needed to change. It was almost like I couldn’t speak the name of the Lord in an honest way when I continued to turn away from His and my Father. When life got bad enough, and the pain of the pain was great enough, I began to give up the control I thought I had over my life and allowed the love of Christ to radically change me from the inside out.
Today I am blissfully unafraid to speak about the good news of the gospel and the love of my Savior! The more I allowed Christ to change me for the better, the easier it got to share and in ways that was honest, kind, and met others where they were at. I wanted to speak about the Lord freely and with passion, but not in a way that would scare anyone off; He has shown me how to do this. I wanted to praise the Lord openly in prayer with others, when for so long I couldn’t seem to overcome the fear of praying in group settings; He has given me people to help gently guide me into becoming open and comfortable with this. I wanted to love others as I have been loved, showing them grace and finding appropriate opportunities to share about my faith; He has given me so many of these situations I’ve since lost count.
SO… My message to you is this: all things are possible when we turn our lives over to the care of God. Ask Him to extinguish the fear and open your heart to those who may guide you. Start talking about your faith, even just a little bit, to someone you trust. Allow Him to take over your heart and listen to what He is prodding you to do or stop. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the beauty and mercy on the other side of fear.