When I first became a Christian I asked quite a few friends and my two brothers if they’d like to join me at church. I’ve found that the longer I’ve been in church the fewer invitations I’ve extended to others. How backwards is that? But apparently that is a common story, I once saw a graph that showed the duration of time an individual has been in church is negatively correlated to how many people they see saved.
I think one of the key problems is that we can become so concerned with our own ‘spiritual life’, following prayer plans and bible study devotions and get so caught up with ‘how is my walk with Christ going?’ that we become less tuned into those who are yet to even start that journey. Now I’m not condemning that question, it’s an important one to ask. Of course reflecting on your own relationship with the Lord is crucial. Spending time with Him is the best, praying and reading scripture helps us grow but what is the point in being the most clued up Bible trivia champ if you aren’t actually using that encouragement to encourage others, you aren’t taking that inspiration you’ve received and inspiring other?
Once at church our pastor challenged us with this question-
‘Who is your faith benefitting?’
Being gospel-minded should automatically make you people-minded. Falling in love with Christ means that we are called to fall in love with people.
I pray that our passion for His kingdom would always be reflected in our treatment of others and that our awakening to His love would be revealed through our actions; that means reading the word and praying, attending Church and conferences but it also means being active in our communities, helping and supporting those in our world who don’t know God and sharing our faith with them.
Sharing your faith with others is scary right? At the end of the great commission Jesus tells us, ‘surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ When you feel moved into action, to help or encourage another person and you feel you just have to tell them about your hope in Jesus you might get those ‘what if they think I’m weird?’, ‘what if they think I’m being patronising?’, ‘what if this isn’t the right time?,’ questions buzzing around. Just remember that He is with you and His timing is perfect so even if the person you are trying to comfort instantly flinches at the name ‘Jesus’ and rejects your invitation to join you at church sometime, don’t be offended or take it too personally. They’ve rejected Church, not you. Just letting that person know that you’re thinking of them, that you feel comfortable enough to share something as important to you as your faith with them will speak volumes. Your faith benefitting someone doesn’t automatically mean they’ll be sitting next to you in Church next week, it simply means them feeling loved and appreciated.
So let’s be brave enough to challenge ourselves regularly and ask ‘who is my faith benefitting?’ You don’t need to stand on a street with a megaphone for your faith to reach and change the lives of others, God works through you to reach those who you live, work and spend time with. All we need to do is be open to Him and be bold enough to authentically love others, to truly be the light.