Summary: A look at why we need to be public in our belief and three things to help embolden our faith.
BELIEVING ON THE INSIDE: If what’s on the inside is real, it will make it out.
- Luke 12:8-9.
- Many people have the idea that as long as I have “Jesus in my heart” then I’m ok.
- And often implicit with that is the idea that my faith can be a private thing. It’s “me and Jesus.” Whether I share my faith publicly, whether I ever mention my faith, whether there are any outward manifestations of my faith is immaterial.
- If our faith is real, it’s going to make its way out.
- We are not going be able to keep it hidden.
- The idea of a private faith that doesn’t need to be known by anyone else is a misnomer. Real faith is going to come out.
- Like the old story about the senior saint who always had a dour, sour look on her face. One day a little girl in the church asked her why she didn’t have the joy of the Lord. The senior saint replied, “I do. I have it in my heart.” The little girl said, “Well, your heart needs to tell your face.”
- Would Jesus really disown someone?
- It’s worth taking a moment to note that this is a harsh concept: that Jesus would disown someone.
- It doesn’t fit with the Mr. Rogers image that many people have of Jesus.
THE "RESPECTABLE PERSON" QUESTION: Asking “What will Jesus do to my image?” betrays that “follower of Christ” is not our main identity.
- The “respectable person” question is “What will Jesus do to my image?”
- This is a concern that many believers have:
a. “If I take a stand on that issue, will my friends still like me?”
b. “If it’s known that I’m a Christian, is that going to change how people perceive me?”
c. “How will my reputation change if I start talking about my faith?”
d. “What will they think of me?”
- Implicit in all those statements is that I am willing to stand for being a Christian only at a certain price.
- One way to respond to that is to ask what your main identity is.
- Above everything else, what do you see yourself as?
- There are obviously a ton of different answers, but the right one is “Christian” or “follower of Christ.” That should be the primary way that we define ourselves.
- If that is the primary way I define myself, then the “respectable person” idea fades away. I’m not worried about how my faith is going to impact my reputation as a businessman because businessman is not my primary identity. I’m not worried about how my faith is going to impact my reputation as a jock at school because jock is not my primary identity.
- It goes without saying that how we relate to God should be our primary identity. But then again, it also goes without doing too often, so I guess I better say it.
- Ask yourself this morning: What is my main identity? What is the main way that I see myself?
- What does this look like? Does it mean that I need to be talking about Jesus all the time?
- Ways that it might show up:
a. In talking about what happened at church.
b. In offering to pray for someone (and then following up).
c. In a change of behavior on an issue where it makes you stand out (and you’re willing to say when asked that the reason in your faith).
d. In sharing a story about answered prayer.
e. In leading your kids in prayer each evening before bed.
f. In the humble, compassionate way that you treat people.
- It’s not about being that “slap-them-upside-the-head-with-a-Bible” person who is annoying in their faith. It’s about it being a real part of your life: something that you’re proud of and excited about.
DEVELOPING MORE PRIDE IN OUR FAITH:
1. Do you understand how much you’ve been forgiven of?
- Continuing with the idea of a “respectable person,” we sometimes minimize our sinfulness because we’ve been able to maintain a solid public image.
- We are sinners, but not sinners like “those people.” You know, the really bad ones.
- In truth, as Colson wrote, we are each much more like Hitler than like Jesus, when we are in our natural state.
- We forget the higher standards that Jesus put forth: adultery is not only the physical act, but the lustful thought.
- We justify our sins because of the extenuating circumstances.
- We excuse much of our behavior because we know we have so much pressure and stress on us.