Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you about the hope you have. Be ready to give the reason for it. But do it gently and with respect. – 1 Peter 3.15bFrom Martin Hayward
We’re a funny lot, we Christians (and I most certainly put myself at the top of the list of oddities). Come Sunday, we are only too happy to stand and sing alongside others that “What a friend we have in Jesus”, “How deep the Father’s love for me” or “The Lord’s my shepherd I shall not want…” and yet when we go out again into the worlds of home and family, work and colleagues or sport and team-mates we suddenly clam up and become shy and awkward when talking about our relationship with Jesus.
Many moons ago, I remember asking my brother why he had become a Christian. I asked because I was genuinely looking at that time to find out what others had that I was missing. I’ll never forget his response and my reaction: he gazed into the distance and put on a smile that landed somewhere on the scale ranging from angelic to patronising and told me that “I met with Jesus in the greenhouse one Saturday afternoon”. And my reaction? “Yep. Just as I’ve always suspected… he really is a bit of a nutter!”
Well, if that is an example of what not to do, what should he have done? I wish that my brother had painted a picture of what his life was like before he came to Christ and why he had felt the need to know Jesus. I would have loved to have heard if he had ever met Jesus again and whether he made a difference to his life in the present? Had his hopes for the future changed? Sadly, the moment passed; my brother died in a road accident before we had a chance to chat again.
By contrast to our witness of a moment in the past, witnessing to our relationship with Jesus today, right now, seems so much more authentic. Even during lockdown, we have so many blessings to count and for which to thank God, and about which we can tell other people whilst still remaining realistic and authentic in our witness about Jesus. Certainly we still struggle as Christians and life is far from perfect, but we now have solid hope that helps us through the present and looks to a glorious future. Every time you tell your faith story you give honour and glory to God, and He is pleased with that. Your story — regardless of how “spectacular” or “ordinary” you may think it is — is a witness to God’s character. It is your experience of how God rescued you from sin and death through Christ and how he supports and enables you now, and it speaks of the joys of eternity that you will share with him.