“In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15 ESV).
“What you say flows from what is in your heart” (Luke 6:45 NLT).
Have you noticed? We tend to talk about whatever we are passionate about. If we love football, we will talk about the latest game or draft pick with a total stranger. If we love a new restaurant, we proclaim its food and atmosphere on social media to all who will listen. If we’re recently engaged to marry, no one can stop the bride-to-be from showing off her new engagement ring. It’s what we do. We just naturally talk about what or who we love. Proclamation follows passion!
This is what the apostle Peter was writing about in his first epistle. He knew that believers were often afraid to share their faith in Christ with others for fear of disapproval or persecution. Yet, he also knew that if believers elevated Christ to the highest place in their hearts, honoring Him as the Lord, then they would always be “prepared” to talk about their faith to others. Fear of persecution would not stop their proclamation because they would “fear” dishonoring Christ more than any fear of disapproval by others.
According to surveys by Barna, only 73% of born again believers believe that they have a personal responsibility to share their faith. And only 52% say they have actually shared their faith with someone else in the past year (George Barna, “Is Evangelism Going Out of Style?”).
Why is this? Why aren’t born again Christians sharing their faith? Here are some “reasons” that people give:
- Lack of knowledge. “Fear that a question will be asked that I can’t answer.”
- Rejection. “Fear that the person won’t like me.”
- Disapproval. “Fear that the person will think I’m being too religious or uncool.”
- Impolite. “It isn’t politically correct to discuss religion.”
- No desire. “I’m an introvert. I don’t want to talk to anyone.”
There may be many more “reasons” that believers are giving for not witnessing, but the truth of the matter is not found in the external world, but in the heart. If we are afraid to talk about our hope in Christ with others, we may blame it on many things, but the real reason is found in our hearts. For as Jesus said, “Out of the heart, the mouth speaks.” If we are silent about our hope in Christ, then we have not set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts.
Dear friends, as we approach the Easter season, let us examine our hearts. Have we set apart Christ as Lord? Do we “honor” Him as holy and above all things? Do we want to please Him above all others?
When we love Christ with all of our heart, mind and soul, we won’t be able to stop talking about Him. Proclamation follows passion.