In my previous article, I mentioned the need for forthrightness and honesty when it comes to sharing the faith. The focus was personal transparency. We must show the lived reality of Christ in our lives if we expect others to take it seriously. We are not salesmen, we are evangelists!
But wait, there’s more!
We have to have full disclosure of the Gospel itself.
We must present the fullness of the Gospel. There is no sense in presenting part of the truth and hiding the less savory parts. What do I mean?
I could go on for a long time on the specifics, but let me summarize a couple of critical points. If you are a child of God, you should know that by virtue of your baptism into Christ’s death that you are DEAD to sin and its power. That means that you should be choosing to do good and not giving in to temptation as you formerly did. What’s more, you are called to perfection. Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).
Now, you could pretend that sin is somehow redefined once you become a Christian, but you’d be lying. Sin is very real and the temptations will increase if they do anything. So what’s the man of God to do? He must daily put on the armor of God and choose virtue over sin and against the world. Let me tell you, it’s hard work and the more temptation you allow yourself to be subject to, the more tired you’ll be. The good part of this story is that, like a good coach, God has given you everything you need to overcome the temptation and avoid sin. BUT, it’s not passive. You must choose and you must walk in holiness. We don’t hear that often do we? We hear about mercy and forgiveness, and we need that, but we also need to keep ourselves pure. After all, we are called to total union with God and what relation does God have with sin? Read your catechism and your Bible for details. This article is focused on the reality for total disclosure.
What else is part of the Faith? Love. Real love is at the core of who we are as Christians. Real love is sacrifice and that means we choose the good of another over our own good. This is most perfectly expressed in marriage. In matrimony, the husband completely lays down his life for his wife, and she completely lays down her life for her husband. This is done in spite of feelings, appearances, circumstances, finances, self-justification, etc. That kind of living takes courage, because we want things for ourselves. Total self-giving love, folks, is difficult. Need a quick example? Sex. The marital embrace is not designed for pleasure. It is pleasurable to be sure, but its design is for unity and procreation. Any attempt to remove one or both purposes turns sex into a mutual masturbation session, in which spouses use one another for physical pleasure. Grossed out? You should be. Sex is beautiful and the natural products of the marital embrace are unity and procreation. That means we should not be surprised when new life comes from our union. That was God’s plan. To say “we don’t want kids” or “we want to _____ before we think about kids” betrays a lack of understanding of what marriage is about. Sacrifice for the good of another. We sacrifice our vacations, our plans, our hobbies, our whatever for the good of someone we might not even see for 9 months. If you’re not ready for life, you’re not ready to get married. If you think you wanna get married and then spend all your time away from your kid(s), you’re gonna pay for that later and you won’t like the way the bill comes. Love is sacrifice. A good premarital counselor will start there and not with curtain color or “compatibility” tests. A good counselor will have the balls to say “You’re not ready and I won’t marry you until you are.”
By the way, you’ll never be prepared for every eventuality of this life, especially marriage, but when you make those vows, man you are agreeing to lay down everything for this woman. It’s not a permit for sex, it’s a beginning of total self giving on a whole new level. In fact, the self giving should be evident long before rings are bought.
But I’m not talking about marriage either. Hmm. Good articles for later. Boy howdy, have I learned a lot the hard way.
So guys, when we share Jesus, we have to be forthright and disclose the reality that Christians are a persecuted people, a people who love fiercely, a people who stand for what’s right even when others do not. We have always stood in contrast against the ways of this world. The Christian life is difficult and very often devoid of emotional “consoltations”. However, in the Christian life we are given LIFE by the God who made us. We are given GRACE to strengthen us to do the things we must do. We are given FORGIVENESS and MERCY to pick us back up when we fall. We have HOPE in a future of eternity with God. We have a FAMILY that spans human history through the CHURCH here on earth and in Heaven.
You can share all of this. You can share your struggles. You can share your victories. You WILL share Jesus one way or another. Like Jesus’ challenge in the sermon on the mount, “Let your light shine before men IN SUCH A WAY that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)