We are all on a journey with God and for me on my journey I think that genuine stories of God’s provision, sustaining faithfulness, equipping and what God has been doing in my life and others around me have made an impact.
My journey through church and college to this point can’t help but speak to my family and friends. It is clear God has always provided what I needed along the way, even if the way has not always been easy. Our stories are significant, they talk to people, so I encourage you to share with those around you what God is doing in your life- the ups and the downs too.
Along the way there have been natural opportunities to speak about my faith such as with English language students, as they also shared about their faith and culture. Good conversations and discussions can come from being open to one another. I Have felt more equipped to jump in on those unexpected discussions about God that come up out of nowhere, amidst a community group scrabble meeting.
When we spend time with God in prayer, learn to trust in him and his strength in us, understand his invitation to join him in what he is doing in our communities- and to extend that invitation, we can be equipped to share his compassion and hope naturally, authentically, and joyfully with those around us.
Confidence in sharing our faith in God is helped by being confident in who God is, his love, his restoring movement in us and our communities. We can be confident in a God who gives grace so freely and loves us so abundantly that he would give up his only son for us.
We can be confident on his call on our lives and every one of us is called to share our faith, despite whether we feel we are gifted in evangelism or not- let’s be encouraged that God calls on everyone. 1 Peter 3:15 says we are all called on to “set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
We are to share our faith through action and integrity too. Because of our trust in God, we allow him to change the way we live. Faith calls forward a heart response, stepping up for people around us and living in the light of his love. Sometimes we will make mistakes, but our confidence in sharing our faith is made stronger by knowing of God’s amazing grace and mercy to us. Thankfully, God is mighty and will move in people’s lives despite our mistakes.
This story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman offers us a big dose of confidence and encouragement. The Samaritan woman misses the point, doesn’t understand, and becomes distracted. After seeing God people see themselves and sometimes this is uncomfortable for them, so they may become uncomfortable with us too. We can know that Jesus’s conversations were often not straight forward! None of this is meant to be easy.
In attempting to share our faith with others in word and action, we need a good dose of humility too, like Jesus in this story where he sat down with a Samaritan woman and spoke with her. She was a woman, not a Jew, a sinner, and an outcast. She lived alone, apart from community, likely cast out. God gives us the confidence to reach out to people we are unsure of, who are different from us. Jesus was compassionate towards outcasts and reaching out in this way speaks to people, he went out of his way to reach the cast out. On the way to Galilee, Jesus took the less preferred route through Samaria which had a long history of tension with Judea. Jews normally avoided Samaria by travelling elsewhere, but Jesus chose to go to a land everyone else avoided, Bethany was one of those places too.
Jesus Listened to a sorry story and showed understanding, he broke through barriers of nationality and orthodox Jewish custom. God loves the world in action too.
Everyone needs to hear about God’s grace and hope and life-giving water. Let’s be encouraged by Jesus. I wonder, where you have had your most significant conversations? Could we offer a meal or a chat over coffee with those around us being open to their story and who they are without judgement? And perhaps in doing be a part of pointing to Jesus and what it means to drink living water.
Thanks to Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman, she acknowledged Jesus as Lord, remained in the light, and revealed signs of discipleship. Jesus displayed humility, he was relational and showed understanding, he shared truth and enlightened too. Responding with heart, she desires follow him.
The Samaritan woman hurried to share the wonder with those who shunned her. She ran knowing who she spoke to and what he offers to all, she was overflowing with awe. She says to them, this is who I was and now this is me. This is what Jesus Christ has done for me.
We live in a broken world, we don’t have to reflect for long before thinking about the situation in Afghanistan, the killings in Plymouth, the suffering of our family and friends, the erratic weather conditions all over the world devastating crops, livelihoods, homes, and health and God’s creation. Our communities need to hear of God’s forgiveness, compassion, grace, mercy, healing, restoration, and hope. They need to know that Jesus is the saviour of the world.
You may still feel unworthy to share your faith, but God trusts us with his life-giving authority, to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28: 18-20.) Remember, God uses the foolish, weak, and lowly for his purposes (1Cor 1:27.) As Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”