In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. –Matthew 5:16
In his book, Fearless Faith, author John Fischer writes,
“Many Christians count too much on the comfort of a Christian environment for the maintenance of their faith. They depend on the familiar surroundings of church, fellowship and Christian activity to help bolster their faith, as if somehow they could get it by osmosis. They don’t interact with the environment as much as they blend in with it. But faith does not seep through the skin. It begins in the heart, and it is strengthened by the challenges placed upon it by a real and complex world. Home is where we are a light in the darkness—a house on a rock in the storm, a lamp on a stand, a city on a hill. Christians grow by being in a place where faith is at risk. This is, in fact, what cultivates a fearless faith.”
When I was younger, just embarking on my career in ministry, I actually thought that one of the perks was that I wouldn’t have to relate much to the outside world — a world full of anti-Christian values, depravity, and sin. Partly, I was looking to escape to the safety of the Christian subculture that would insulate and isolate me from the world’s influence. I was always concerned about those who didn’t know Christ, but I approached the matter from a perspective of wanting to bring them into the safety of the Christian subculture, rather than rolling up my sleeves, getting dirty, and mixing it up with people — and living out my faith in the real world.
Over the years, my perspective has changed. I believe Fischer is right. Our faith is designed to be fearless, operating openly in the real world, not hidden away, safely within the four walls of our local churches. Living our faith in the real world is risky. We will be exposed to sin and anti-Christian values. We may be ridiculed and persecuted. But, as Fischer argues, it is when we put our faith at risk that our faith can grow stronger. Jesus is the model for fearless faith. He hung out with the kinds of people most Christians in our day would not. Jesus words still apply today: “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
Choose to take the road towards fearless faith. Start where you are. Befriend, love, and serve your peers, your neighbors and your community. Be a light that shines in the darkness and the world will take notice and understand that God is still at work today.
1. What evidence in your life suggests that you have isolated yourself from those who don’t know Christ?
2. Are you willing to develop a friendship with a non-Christian peer or neighbor so that you can be used by God in their life?
Matthew 9:9-13; Luke 7:34-47; Matthew 5:13-16; John 17:14-19