Anybody who grew up in church hearing about the great commission has had to deal with two false assumptions surrounding the issue of sharing our faith:
- I have to achieve a certain level of competence and have my life together before God can use me.
- If I were transparent and let people see my weaknesses and struggles, it would invalidate what I had to say about Christ.
Both are reasonable thoughts. I mean think about it, it’s way too easy to compare ourselves to the champions of the faith. We can say “Paul got knocked off a horse by God and was blinded for three days. Of course his faith will be greater than mine.” Or how about “Moses spoke openly with God, He doesn’t do that with just anybody.” This one we’re all guilty of: “I don’t have a crazy testimony; just wouldn’t know what to say.”
All that’s a load of bull.
As with everyone, we all try to and funnel our circumstances into something we think we can control. But as Hebrews 11:1 points out, “Faith is being…certain of what we do not see.” In other words, it isn’t really faith until we get beyond what we can control.
And when we can’t control something everything goes out of whack. We are afraid that if we follow God where leads us, our incompetence will expose us and we’ll look like failures.
Let’s all remember that Paul had to go through years of prison, torture, name-calling, slanderous speech and even hot pursuit. In the early days of his ministry he was continuously kicked out of towns and synagogues for his fearless teaching and bold speech. He even narrowly escaped death in Damascus by being lowered over the wall in a waste basket (Acts 9:23-25).
Talk about humbling.
Years later he shared that out of all his rich years of experience, he singles out that failure in Damascus as being among the very most important of his life (2 Cor 11:32-33). It was important because it taught him that out of he cannot rely on himself. He is not in control of his life.
So what did Paul do that we must also do? “Boast of the things that show my weakness”(11:30). Paul chose to live under submission to the Holy Spirit. In doing so he could reap the rewards of God’s work and not his own.
Trusting in the Holy Spirit can be unsettling. On occasion, He might even decide to let us look like failures just to get the message across. That’s why we need our inadequacies. Without them we will never understand our need for true strength.
Realizing and tapping into that true strength can only come through understanding and awakening to our weakness.
In a sense God is saying “You’re better the way you are—weak. That way you aren’t even tempted to trust in your own abilities. I get the glory and you have to fumble around the way you do, “for my power is made perfect in your weakness”(2 Cor 12:9).
It is not the hardship in itself that helps us know God better. It is when we embrace the hardship by faith, seeing it as an opportunity to experience God’s power, that we grow towards maturity.
So, to answer those two false assumptions: no, we don’t have to have it all together to share our faith. Also, that we must embrace our weaknesses and boast in them so that in our humility we can let the light of Christ shine forth into the darkness.
We reveal the reality of the transforming power of the gospel best when we are authentic, honest, and open about our weaknesses.