Desiring to build others up & give grace to those who visit

Even Now, I Still Have A Long Way To Go

[Originally posted on Facebook on 04/28/2009]

Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about God and what He means to me; this has been going on intermittently for a few months and has become more of a burden in the last few weeks. I’m prompted to write this note because of the recent death of a friend of mine.

I found myself in tears on the way home from the funeral home, and I could not figure out exactly why I was crying. Was I sad because a friend had died? Was I responding emotionally to the song on the radio that spoke of God’s greatness? Were they tears of joy because my friend had accepted Christ? Were they tears of remorse for failing to share the gospel with others? Or was it a combination of all these things & maybe more–I think this is the most likely explanation.

I have been told that she had accepted God’s gift of salvation through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection; and for that I praise God. However, I think back on all the times that I talked to her over the years– all the times that I sat in her chair while she cut my hair (sometimes as often as every 2 weeks), and I realize that I never once spoke to her about spiritual matters.

I am thankful that God saw fit to save her despite my shortcomings, but what might her life or her testimony been like had I even once opened my mouth to share the gospel with her? Or anyone else for that matter? What stopped me? Many things: fear of rejection, fear of offending her, fear that I would say the wrong things, fear that my knowledge of scripture was too poor, and on and on it goes. Do you see the common theme? FEAR. But what should I be afraid of? Or better yet, why should I fear these things? If I speak the truth in love, it is not my place to worry about peoples’ reactions or what they do with that information; if they reject it, they are rejecting God, not me. As long as I stick to what I DO know, I should not worry about saying the wrong things, and if my knowledge of scripture is not what it should be, I can always say “I don’t know” & look something up or find someone who does know the answer. I should NOT fear because the Bible tells me not to fear: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul…” (Matthew 10:28a).

I believe that by God’s grace and with His help I am entering a new chapter in my life; one that I hope will be marked by a greater openness about my faith in Jesus and what He has done. I see this note as the beginning of this chapter, and I hope to write more notes like this in the future. But, I also hope that I become more willing to share with others face-to-face in my everyday life and take advantage of those opportunities that are right in front of me.

I suppose I still haven’t really said WHAT I believe or WHY I believe it so here’s my attempt:

I believe in God (the one and only God). I believe His Son Jesus died on a cross as a perfect sacrifice for my sins and the sins of the whole world. I believe Jesus rose from the dead through His own power on the third day. I believe we are saved from the punishment for our sins (eternity in Hell) by accepting Jesus’ free gift of salvation through belief in Him as our savior. I believe that He has saved me. I believe that just because I am saved does not mean that I am perfect or that I will never sin again.

Here are a few things to consider:

“for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 ESV)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 ESV)

“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 ESV)

I hope that others read this note, and it encourages them, or causes them to ask questions, or think more about God. If you have any questions or comments for me about this note, PLEASE post them or email them to me.

[09/03/2012–Reading back over this more than 3 years later, I realize that I still have a long way to go to get to where I desired (& still do desire) to be in the post. I have changed & I have grown in many respects since then, but I find I am still very hesitant to share the Gospel with others. I can’t really explain it. I know I should. I know I have nothing to fear. Yet I still don’t. I have little difficulty discussing it when someone else brings it up, but otherwise I usually remain silent. I pray God changes that. Heaven forbid I stay this way!]

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