We all have at least one – something embarrassing we don’t want to be public knowledge. As hard as it is to narrow down my list to just one I’ll give it a try. When I was a teenager there was one thing I didn’t want to talk about. I didn’t want others to label me with or mock me for. Sometimes I wish it wasn’t part of my life. I was embarrassed to be a Christian.
I was fine with wearing my Christianity around other Christians but being connected to Jesus outside of that was risky. I doubted. I was afraid. I was selfish. I confess that even all these years later it’s still hard to be public about my association with Jesus. What is it that keeps you from making your faith public? Why do you hold back around others when it comes to your faith in Jesus?
After reading through the gospel of Mark I’m challenged, once again, about what it takes to follow Jesus. There are days when even as a Pastor I feel like I fall short of a true disciple. The call of Jesus included an expectation of hardship. He didn’t promise an easy road but rather a road with conflict, suffering, ridicule, pressure, loss, and broken relationships. Following Jesus isn’t always popular. In fact sometimes it’s costly. While many Christians around the world exhibit extreme boldness for Jesus most Christians I know in America keep to themselves.
Jesus doesn’t want to be your selective Savior, He wants to be the Lord of your whole life. We can’t just wear our Christianity once a week when it’s convenient. Following Jesus is supposed to be a 24/7 mission. I think we’ve accepted some terrible cultural lies that need to be confronted.
1 – Christian Vs. Secular. This term “secular” is often used to refer to anything that isn’t Christian. The problem is that we have used this as a description for how to live. We act like Christianity is for when we do Christian things like go to church, read our bible, pray, or potluck but everything else is separate. This myth that your work, hobbies, shopping, food, entertainment, or relationships are separate from your faith is damaging. Following Jesus should be a holistic approach to every facet of your life. In other words, everything you do should be done as a Christian. Your faith should affect the way you live. Your words and actions should always reflect Jesus. What’s the point in believing in something if it doesn’t affect the way you live? We must stop picking and choosing only parts of our live to be Christian in.
2 – Lifestyle Evangelism. Make sure you hear me clearly. How you live is essential to your message but without actual words it’s kind of hard to understand someones message. Have both a life that represents Jesus and words that speak of Him. The problem is that people have pushed this idea that it’s not necessary to actually tell people about Jesus as long as you look like Him. How often do you actually look like Jesus? The problem is that it’s a crutch for people who are too afraid to say something. We say, “Well, I may have not actually told the person about Jesus but the way I live will make them ask me how to be saved soon.” You probably have a better chance at winning the lottery. Paul the Apostle was a living example of God’s grace but he emphasized over and over again that his mission was to speak boldly about Christ crucified for the salvation of all men. He actually spoke out loud about Jesus because he knew that there was power in the message.
Stop pretending like your half-hearted attempts to look like Jesus is actually going to make an eternal difference in your neighbors/co-workers/teammates/classmates/family members life. We must actually speak up and tell others the words of the Gospel of life. Speak up! Tell those around you about God’s grace and the power of salvation in Jesus. Tell them your story and be honest about your struggles, and then point them to the God who is making you new!
I love how the bible records a few characters that enter and exit the scene within a few sentences but who had big impact. There was a man named Joseph of Arimathea who only gets 5 verses in the entire bible but he had to be included because of his courage. When Jesus was crucified everyone scattered. His disciples fled, Peter denied even knowing him, and some who shouted Hosanna a day earlier mocked Him. While others were hiding, Joseph went public with his faith. “Joseph of Arimathea took a risk and went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.” In another translation of Mark 15:43 it says that he went “boldly” to Pilate. Joseph was a member of the council that promoted killing Jesus. He was willing to risk losing his social position. He was willing to risk political pressure. He was willing to be buried as a nobody so that Jesus could be honored in his death. Joseph went public with his association with Jesus.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16) How could we possibly be embarrassed by Jesus? He’s given us everything even while we were so undeserving!
Are you ready to take a risk for Jesus? Are you prepared to loss a friend, a job, your popularity, or even your future so that Jesus can be honored? What you might loss to follow Jesus will pale in comparison to what you’ll gain. You want to see lives changed? Then it’s time to go public.