Shame & Gospel

I am a pastor and I struggle with sharing my faith!  There, I said it.  I have struggled with sharing my faith for a good part of my Christian faith, and I imagine that many of you can identify with me given the studies done around this topic.  The good and bad news is that you are not alone.  To be honest, too much of my Christian life has been waiting for that Pentecost moment.  Perhaps you remember in Acts 2 where they heard this sound from heaven and tongues as fire rested on them.  The people started to boldly declare the truth of God’s greatness.  I think I too often wait for a magical moment like this to share my faith. However, this moment has yet to happen for me.  Through the years there have certainly been times where I felt God’s presence and Him working through me.  It was a turning point when I chose to stop waiting on the magic moment and trust that the Gospel is the moment.  I have come to realize that sharing my faith is less about a magic moment and more about a surrendered moment.  It is doing what I know to be right, especially in times it does not feel right.

The power of the Gospel demonstrates that God’s Word is truly enough.  In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul addresses a very gifted but carnal church.  After he has explained to them the potent message of the cross, he begins to remind them of the difference between his time with them, versus others.  Paul explains in those first two verses how he came to them not in superiority of speech or even wisdom, but actually the opposite: simplicity. Paul shares that he “determined to know nothing except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”  For those unfamiliar, Paul was a brilliant man. Some suggest that his educational prowess would be similar to one accumulating four to five PH.D’s today.  Paul was so brilliant that the brightest of minds today are still trying to unravel the mysteries God gave him.  Paul teaches us something profound through his letter to the Corinthians.  Jesus’ words are both simple and deep enough that we could spend all our lives on earth unraveling them.  That is the beauty of the Gospel.  The Gospel is not a one time event, but a never depleting reminder of God’s power to save.  Paul teaches that it is not our eloquence nor persuasiveness that transforms the lives of men and women.  It is the simple and powerful Gospel.

Now back to my struggle.  I am learning to rest in the reality that I may never feel completely comfortable with sharing my faith.  Yet, there is solace in knowing that my acts of obedience bring my Father delight.  Maybe one day I will experience unimaginable joy and passion in persuading those far from the Lord.  However, even if that day never comes, I am committing to keep showing up, to keep opening my mouth, and to keep strengthening my apologetic. Regardless of the internal conflict, I trust that the Lord will reward my faithfulness how He deems appropriate.  I also know that the only shame that I will feel will be when I give into my fear to keep silent.  Even then, I know my shame is not from the Lord, but the spiritual darkness that wants to convince me that I am anything less than God’s beloved.  What will I do in those moments?  I will remind myself again of the Gospel, which is good for me, and the person I dread sharing with.