Seven Obstacles to Sharing Your Faith, Part 5

I ran across an article last month on christianitytoday.com by Chris Lutes entitled Seven Reasons Not to Share Christ (and why we should go ahead and do it anyway). I thought it would make a good a good blog series.

Lutes writes for his fifth reason:

5) “I’m not a very good Christian”

You’re a believer, but you mess up. You don’t pray or read your Bible as much as you should. And you sin. Every day. So why should you tell other people about Christ if you can’t even get it right? Fortunately, being a believer isn’t about getting it right. It’s about God’s love and God’s forgiveness. It’s about his saving grace. (See Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:16 and Colossians 2:13.) So, does this mean you can act however you want? No. God wants us to become more like him each and every day. But he can also use us even when we mess up or aren’t as good as we should be. You don’t have to be “perfect” to share Christ. Not at all. Instead, make it clear to your friends: “You know, I’m sure not perfect. That’s why I need God’s love and forgiveness.” Chances are, your friends will appreciate your honesty. They might also be kind of amazed to discover you believe in a loving and forgiving God. And isn’t that what the Good News is all about?

Being a Christian isn’t about being good. It’s about being forgiven. If being a Christian depended on us being good, then there would be no Christians. The apostle Paul quotes several Old Testament passages in Romans 3:10-12, where he writes,

10 As it is written:
“There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”

Since there is no person who does good, then not being a “good” Christian puts you in exactly the same position as every other Christian. None of us is “good,” despite the fact that most of us want to be. Paul also struggled with the dilemma of Christian “goodness.” In Romans 7:14-25, he writes,

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

Paul struggled with sin. He struggled to do what was right, and he struggled not to do what was wrong. All of us who are followers of Jesus Christ struggle with doing what we know is right. If a person does not have this internal dissonance between what they know God wants them to do and what they actually do, I would contend that they aren’t true Christians. All people fall short of God’s perfect standard; true Christians have the Holy Spirit residing in them, convicting them of sin and guiding them toward repentance. If a person does not experience the Holy Spirit’s conviction for sin, then they have not yet been saved. The fact that a Christian knows they fall short is evidence that they are truly saved and allowing God to guide and direct them.

Here’s the bottom line: Being a Christian isn’t about being good; it’s about being forgiven, and being transformed. Being forgiven happens the moment a person receives Jesus Christ; being transformed is a life-long process. The fact that I’m not a “good” Christian is the very point of the Gospel. Religion says I must be good to approach God; Christianity says that I cannot be good, but that God wants to be reconciled to me through the blood of Jesus Christ, despite my lack of goodness. And, it’s the Holy Spirit that allows the transformational process in my life, not anything I can do on my own.

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