In my technical writing and blogging (information technology), if my faith plays a factor in something, I don’t hesitate to mention it. I don’t go out of my way to hammer it down my readers’ throats, but I do freely discuss my faith’s impact on my life. I’ve received emails and personal comments saying that I’m brave for doing so. I don’t see it this way. I’m just trying to be authentic. There are repercussions. Some folks in the technology community have made it a point to say they disagree. They say a technical blog should be a technical blog. Life isn’t easily compartmentalized like that, though. Certainly, God isn’t to be sectioned off from that part of my life or any part of my life. Otherwise, we have the “God in the box” syndrome, which means we’re defining a god who isn’t the real Living God. That doesn’t work. We’ve then created an idol and our worship is false. That’s sin. Our faith should be a natural part of who we are, because we are re-made as a new creation in the image of Christ.
And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. – John 17:11-19, ESV
This is part of what we call the High Priestly Prayer, and it is what Jesus prayed for us, His followers. He asks that the Father protect us because though Jesus physically left the world, we’re still here. However, though we are physically present in this world, we are to have different values, beliefs, and priorities than what we may see around us. Our values, beliefs, and priorities are to be centered on the Word of God. Jesus specifically asked that we be kept here in this world, but that we would be protected. Stop and think about that for a second. Jesus could have asked for the Father to evacuate us the moment we came to belief in Jesus Christ and received salvation through grace. Jesus didn’t do this, though. Instead, He asked for us to be left here, to be protected from Satan, to be set apart from the world, and to be sanctified in the truth. In fact, He willingly gave Himself up for all that to happen.
Why wouldn’t He just ask for us to be called home? There are a multitude of reasons and that could take up days on end in theological discussion, but the fact is He didn’t. He expects us to be a physical representation of the truth and love of God. He expects us to live out our faith in a visible way. This isn’t arguing and beating people down. That’s not how He did it. He revealed the truth through His actions and words. That’s the model for us to follow, too. Yes, this will lead to hostility from some. Jesus expected it and we know this because He prayed to the Father about how the world would hate us. We should expect that our beliefs won’t sit well with some. We should expect flack and hostility from them. That shouldn’t change what we do.
If Jesus Christ is the most important person in our lives, then He should be visible in all aspect of our lives, right? That includes work, community, family (even among those who don’t believe), friends, etc. We should expect some friction but we should make sure that friction isn’t because of something we’re doing wrong. For instance, we’re supposed to present the Gospel with gentleness. If we’re taking a sledgehammer approach to sharing our faith, then the friction is because we’re being disobedient to God’s command, not because they are resistant to the Gospel. Then we need to fix things. We’re in the wrong. If, however, we are being obedient and we do meet with resistance and friction, that is okay and we shouldn’t change. We should expect that resistance just as we expect so many things in life. If those things cost us, so be it. We are told that it is a privilege to suffer for the name of Christ. This is a truth we need to take to heart. It will help us be more authentic, which is what Christ asks of us in the first place.