How open are you with family and friends about your faith journey? Or do you tend to be a “secret believer?” Why is that (for both questions)?
I enjoy reading the book of Jonah in the Older Testament. He is considered a minor prophet (due to the shorter amount of material in comparison to “major” prophets like Isaiah). Jonah was a prophet God had to call twice to go to Ninevah, because he ran away the first time.
To help you consider the context of Jonah’s experience, have you ever been in a situation where God had to tell you more than once to follow His directions? One of my students told me that sharing their faith with a roommate was always difficult because of a fear of rejection. Another said a hindrance was a fear of ridicule. Or of being unprepared. Or of making a mistake. Or of offending someone. Or of not knowing the Scriptures enough. Or a lack of conviction.
But we reviewed and discussed that Jesus taught his message (i.e., the gospel) was good news. Therefore, being involved in evangelism meant being the bearer of good news. To be a witness was simply to “relate what you had seen and heard.” Our commission was found in Matthew 28:18-20. Jesus even provided spiritual empowerment for the task he described in Acts 1:8.
So men and women involved with my Chi Alpha chapter repented and reminded themselves of who they were serving, and relying on the power of the Holy Spirit, they obeyed the Lord and went about their daily business on campus, ready to engage others with the message of their Lord and Savior. They would often ask friends and classmates in appropriate moments, “So, I was wondering if you would tell me what you think about Jesus and his teachings?”
On many occasions, they were pleased to hear people respond and share some of their thoughts about Jesus. In some cases, people said they were not interested in responding and went on their way. But in both cases, seeds were planted. My students had obeyed the Lord and He will bring about fruit from their obedience in His time and way.
Read Jonah 1:1-17.
When Jonah finally obeyed the Lord’s command, the result was astounding. He marched through Ninevah proclaiming this eight-word message: “40 more days and Ninevah will be overturned” (Jonah 3:4). The whole city, from the king down to the youngest citizen, repented in sackcloth and ashes, and God spared the city from destruction (3:6-10).
God may be moving in your own heart and mind, prompting you to speak to someone about Jesus on campus, in a class, your dorm, or back home. Often, the closer the person is to you, the harder it may be. Go ahead and obey the voice of the Lord. Overcome your shyness, and your fear(s) by the power of the Holy Spirit, and share the good news about Jesus.
People matter to God. Our good news is that God reached down to man in Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, rescue us from His wrath by offering us eternal life, and put each of us in right relationship with God so we can flourish. Don’t push God to use drastic measures on you.
Walk wisely. Inside a fish is not a fun place to find yourself. To obey is always the best way.
Love is a verb,
©2017 by Mike Olejarz