Even for Catholics who have encountered Jesus, experienced his forgiveness and chosen to pattern their lives after him, fear, shame, neglect, and false ideas still prevent many of us from sharing our faith. We know we should and we might even want to, but we don’t. What gives?
In order for the balance to shift in our actions and attitudes around sharing our faith there are three things that need to change.
+ Our minds
If we are honest with ourselves we don’t really believe talking with others about Jesus and the Church is all that pressing, important, or even acceptable. What rattles around in our mind isn’t a worldview molded by God’s word, but rather thoughts that flow from our feelings (that’s scary) or the movies we watch (people don’t respect Jesus freaks), or from misplaced Catholic mantras like the St Francis quote, “preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary use words.” Ugh!! We counsel ourselves everyday with wrong ideas that fly in the face of “go and make disciples of all nations.”
What to do? Memorize scripture. As far as I know, Catholics are able to do this too. Since what we think, becomes, it stands to reason that as we internalize the truths of scripture, they become the seedbed for new decisions and actions. If you memorized one scripture a month - a year later you would have memorized twelve times as much scripture as you probably had the year before. Winning!
Here are two to get you started. Romans 10:15 & 1 Peter 3:15
+ Our habits
Matthew Kelly once said that “our lives will change when our habits change.” More often than not I wake up with that thought on my mind. And when my next move is to grab my phone (before I grab my bible) I know I am still a day away from real life change. :) We are creatures of habit. What gets in the workflow tends to stay in the workflow. Starting good habits isn’t easy and it’s even harder to break bad ones.
What to do? Start a new habit. Try mentioning the name of Jesus, once a day, in conversation. Recently, this has been something I have been doing. It’s harder than it sounds, but there is great power in Jesus’ name. It’s a word that won’t go easily unnoticed and often leads to deeper spiritual conversations.
+ Our prayers
Listen to your prayers. Are they prayers of a person who hopes to share their faith with somebody else? If your prayers are like mine, they are often self-focused. Bless me, bless me, bless me. Help me, help me, help me.
What to do? Pick 3 people, pray for them by name, out loud, everyday for a month. Pray specifically for their hearts and minds to open to faith and for opportunities to speak with them about your faith. Try it. You won’t be disappointed.
Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We are crazy to think that we are going to share our faith more next month than we did this last month if something doesn’t change. I suggest changing your minds, habits, and prayers.
What do you think? What needs to change about you for you to share your faith more often?