Keeping Only the Parts I Like
No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. Luke 8:16
When I made my first attempts at recovery, I approached the twelve steps with a scissors, keeping the parts I liked and discarding the ones I didn’t. I could accept that I had a problem and needed help. Step twelve though – We tried to carry this message to alcoholics – just wasn’t something I was interested in doing. I wanted to keep my problem a secret and reaching out to others didn’t fit in with my plans.
I’ve often felt much the same way about sharing my faith. I grew up in an evangelical Christian tradition which places a heavy emphasis on telling others of the gospel message. My salvation though, like recovery, was something I simply preferred to keep to myself. The thought of going door to door or preaching on a street corner – about God or sobriety – just makes me squirm. Talking to others about faith can be really uncomfortable.
In today’s passage though, Jesus said that outreach isn’t really optional for the Christian. As we’ve been given a light, we must share that light with those who need it. Christ said those who call themselves his disciples will follow him in obedience. If we call ourselves followers of Christ, we must necessarily allow our light to shine.
AA says, We keep what we have by giving it away. I’m not saying that we’ll lose our sobriety if we don’t reach out to other addicts and I’m not saying we’ll lose our salvation of we don’t share our faith. I’m saying what I think Jesus is saying – that if we’ve truly been transformed, it will be almost impossible for others not to see the change. Likewise, if we have zero interest in reaching out to those who need help, we must question the authenticity of our own transformation.
I’m still not great at telling others of what God has done for me. In truly finding faith and recovery though, it has become much more natural to share my story when I see another struggle as I have.
As God has shown his light in us, we must allow his light to shine through us. It’s not that we have all the answers or can save anyone. We’re just following the one who does and can.
I love this, despite the fact that I am not on fire to shout out The Good News everywhere/anywhere I go.
I’m not about to say that I don’t have a testimony worth telling to someone but I am not that interested in trying to convince people of the transformation that has taken place in me. Then try to convince them of who Jesus is and that they make him the most important thing in their life.
It’s my hope to eventually have someone ask me, “What’s up with you, what’s your deal?”, and mean it in a good way.
I could certainly tell others of the advantages of leading a disciplined life modeled by Jesus and his teachings but it’s not like I have a lot to point at in my life as proof. Back to an AA principle,” attraction rather than promotion”. I feel pretty strongly that if they can’t see it, then I can’t sell it.
Maybe I am making excuses instead of sense but I do have faith and confidence that if I just keep walking this out that it will produce the type of results that I will have a light shining on a stand that people will see!
I think that’s the point. We need to live it first. “Share the gospel at all times, if necessary, use words.”
We don’t need to live perfectly to share our faith, but there has to be some evidence of transformation in our own lives to be able to genuinely share it with others. I believe you’re in the process of that transformation brother.