4. Sharing our faith means sharing a life that is being made whole.
The community marveled that this man who was formerly demon possessed was found “clothed and in his right mind.” We cannot overlook the need for our lives to be transformed by Jesus. It is genuine transformation, not perfection, that makes the Gospel plausible to others. It wasn’t until I met someone who was a Christian, who was actually living out their faith, that I began to think, Maybe there is something to this Christian thing after all. But it was also seeing that they were in process that was deeply comforting. Their newfound wholeness was appealing, but their brokenness was reassuring.
5. Sharing our faith is sharing an encounter.
The demon possessed man begged Jesus that he might be with him. He knew where the true source of life came from, and he wanted to stay with Jesus. Yet Jesus doesn’t let him come, but rather says, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he had mercy on you.”
Sharing our faith is that simple. It’s not about having all the right answers. It’s about sharing with people what the Lord has done for us, and how he has had mercy on us. And this starts at home before it starts abroad. It doesn’t have to be complex, it’s very simple. Be where you are, and share the encounter you’ve had with Jesus. It starts with friends and in the context of our existing circles before it ever spills out into the streets with strangers. It’s not about abstract truth, it is about Jesus. It’s about sharing how Jesus came into your broken life, made it whole and saved you.
6. Sharing our faith is a commission we receive from Jesus, not pastors.
It is easy to feel guilty about not sharing our faith. And all too often this guilt is induced by pastors who try to motivate you (probably with good intentions) to start being more active in bringing people to encounter Jesus. But the only true motivator is going to be the Gospel. The man who was healed in this narrative in Mark wanted to be with Jesus, and if that meant staying behind and doing what Jesus said, well, he was happy to do it!
I don’t want you to share your faith in Jesus because you have to; I want you to share your faith in Jesus because you have had an encounter with him that you can’t contain. So let me suggest something as a challenge: If you’re not sharing your faith, is it because you haven’t had a sincere, life transforming encounter with Jesus? Or could it be that you’ve neglected seeking him in a deeply engaged way?
It’s OK if you feel uncomfortable talking about Jesus. That may never go away. You are, after all, taking a message into a world that generally doesn’t want to hear it. You’re speaking to a complex society that may respond in many different ways. Some people are apathetic. Some are angry toward religion. Some are open to conversation as long as it stays hypothetical and not personal.
The point isn’t getting over our discomfort and fears and mustering up courage. The point is encountering Jesus in such a sincere and true way that our fears and hesitations no longer hold us back. Jesus shapes us and forms us in a way that makes us overflow with a new vision of what being human looks like under his lordship. Share your faith in Jesus because the encounter with him is so powerful, merciful and life altering.
So what do we talk about when we talk about Jesus? Well, we talk about him, and not our theories about him, but the Scriptural and historical witnesses of him. We talk about our amazing encounter with the God-man who overcomes all boundaries to seek us, who goes into places of discomfort and risk, who reverses the dehumanizing powers of evil and this world, the one who saves us from our sin and who is making our lives whole.
We talk about our captivating encounters with Jesus. We talk about someone so incredible, so desirable, so beautiful that we would give up everything just to be with him. We talk about him with passion, because he is so passionate about us.