I remember from my time at trade school when all the students would get together in the locker room to chat while we were getting dressed for shop class. I was attending automotive trade school, and to paint the picture, the class was mostly young and male and the setting was very casual and social. You can probably imagine how crude the environment could be at times. Being a Christian, I was often not engaged with most of the typical locker room banter. One time during a locker room chat I was approached by a student who said "you must be religious because you don't swear." And just like that I had access to an unbeliever to share the gospel, surely I was ready to jump on this opportunity ... right? Honestly, I was caught off guard, especially because this particular student didn't seem to be concerned about religion, let alone Jesus. Really I thought he was just going to make fun of me, but in retrospect I suspect he was being sincere.
I don't remember my exact response but I believe it was the typical, "Yes, I'm a Christian, I go to church, but it’s more than just a religion” ... something “cookie-cutter”, along those lines. As fast as it started, the conversation segued into another topic and we went off to class.
After the exchange, I began to regret my response, feeling like I should have been a bolder witness. It was obvious this person could see somewhat of a difference in my life than the other students and was curious as to why. Not that being "religious" or abstaining from profanity makes you a believer, but being set apart undoubtedly draws attention, especially in a situation like this. Unfortunately, when it came time for me to verbally witness my faith, I fell short. I knew the gospel and even shared it before, but it was usually with someone I knew fairly well or at least in more of a "christian" atmosphere. I was in enemy territory and was unprepared for battle.
The gospel of Mark Chapter 16:15 says: And He (Jesus) said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
This is the great commission, not just for the disciples or for preachers, but for everyone who has been born again. So why is it that so many christians shy away from really sharing their faith in difficult situations? More than likely it is because we have become too casual in our christian walk. Our prayer life has grown weak, and our bible is collecting dust. Don’t forget to add a dash of pride to the mix. After all, we don’t want to make things awkward, lose our friends or be the weird “religious” person in the group, right? When we get right down to it, there is no acceptable excuse for this behavior in the life of a believer. Let us be challenged as the body of Christ to hold fast to our convictions and to be diligent to obey the commands of our Lord. May we pray that the Holy Spirit will give us the strength to be a faithful witness to the world.
Being set apart from the world is a command for all christians ( 1 Peter 1:16, Romans 12:1) but as Christ followers we have to be prepared to give an answer at any time (2 Timothy 4:2), even when we are being mocked or uncomfortable - let's be real, sharing our faith with others is usually uncomfortable.
A few years went by after this brief interaction when I was informed that this student had tragically passed away. I was deeply saddened to hear this, and my mind immediately raced back to that conversation and the wasted opportunity I had to share the gospel.
Friends, If you are given the privilege to share Jesus to a curious soul, be prepared. Let your lifestyle be set apart from the world, but make sure you are ready at all times to explain why and what our eternal hope is, with boldness.
---> Have you had a similar experience, if so how did you respond?
---> Are you prepared to faithfully share the gospel, no matter the circumstances?
---> Pray that the Holy Spirit will give you boldness when you are questioned about your faith.