It can be so easy to keep our faith on the inside. Religion is an inherently private affair. It’s a personal relationship between God and us. It’s easy to avoid the conversation, because it can be awkward at times or people may become hostile towards you. When you try to avoid those situations we can tend to turn inward and essentially “check out” so we don’t have to deal with the conflict.
It’s natural, it’s human nature to try to avoid these situations. But we are called to share the faith with the world. But if we’re too bold and forward, we can be accused of “shoving our beliefs down their throats,” but some will accuse us of that anyways. I, don’t enjoy those awkward moments and have a tendency to try and avoid situations that may put me in them…but that also prevents me at times from being God’s hands and feet in the world and I can miss those opportunities that abound to do the little things for God. And if he can’t trust me in the little things, how can he trust me with big ones.
So how can I avoid “checking out” from the Christian faith, yet still be responsive to God’s opportunities?
Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity – Colossians 4:5
Who are these outsiders?
Practically speaking, the outsiders are those that don’t have a relationship with Christ. These nonbelievers are more interested in how we live than how we talk. While it’s still important to confess Christ with our lips, but our walk should match up with our talk. If we profess to be Christians on the weekends, then treat our spouses poorly in public, that does not match up with what Christ is about.
Edgar Guest once said, “I’d rather see a sermon, than hear one, any day.” Our words are ineffective if our actions don’t match up. Do our religious beliefs affect our daily lives? They should. If we’re one way on Sunday morning, but a different person come Monday morning.
So how do we correct this? Daily exercise in spiritual things. Read the Bible, pray and commune with God, praise and thank Him throughout the day.
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. – 1 Peter 2:12
Be wise among them
When dealing with secular society, believers should probably be cautious and tactful so as not to alienate our non-believing neighbors.
And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. – 1 Timothy 3:7
Not often will someone be truly convinced of something if they are badgered over and over with it. But as God acted towards us, with love, patience and understanding, we can act towards the non-believer. It’s not just a ploy to win them to our side, it’s a true love, like Christ loved us.
Don’t squander an opportunity
You never know when an opportunity will present itself to share Christ with someone. As we grow older, we come to realize that time is non-renewable, it’s slips quickly and quietly by. Each moment is invested with something, whether godliness, idleness or sinfulness. Once it’s invested, it’s gone.
Strive to use as much time as possible to honor God, to praise him and to thank him for being who He is. Use the time we have to make known to the world through our actions or speech the gospel of Christ. The opportunity we have comes in a moment and then it’s gone, perhaps to never come again.
I’ve coached American football over the years and one thing I always told the players, is “Don’t walk off that field, thinking I could have done a little more. I could have ran just a bit faster, or worked just a little harder. Once you walk off that field, the opportunity to do that is gone. You’ve invested your effort and the result was given. Walk off that field with no regrets.”
Life is a lot like that. People come and go from our lives. Opportunities to help, to server, or to just say hello. Let’s not walk off this “field of life” saying, “I could have done just a little more.”