My entire life I have been attending a public school, from Kindergarten all they way up to 12th grade. As I am starting my 2nd semester as a Senior in high school, I have begun to recall how I have handled my deep faith publicly. I believe there are some simple truths that may be helpful for others that are starting their first years at high school, hoping to be bold in their faith.
1. You ARE going to mess up.
It is important to realize that no matter the strength of your faith in Christ and your desire to live it out, there will be failures. It is often the aftermath of these failures that will shape and define how you live out your faith, as well as how others perceive your faith. Don’t let the devil use the guilt of your failures to push you away from Christ, let it bring you closer to His love. If you haven’t failed, then you weren’t trying.
2. Everyone IS going to see you mess up.
While this may be a hard pill to swallow, it is so true. People will see you, and they may think you are a fool. Who cares, you are obeying God’s will to share the Gospel. However, they will also see how you handle your lack of perfection. Will you give it to God or fix it with continuous human error? This will be a testimony to your faith.
3. They are just as scared as you are.
Often times when you think about sharing your faith or defending it, you may get a little nervous or even feel your hands shaking. That’s okay. The person you are discussing hard questions with is just as nervous as you are. Remember you are both humans, you both get anxious about things. But, never forget that your anxiety or nervousness should not hinder you from sharing. A strong testimony to your faith is how you handle your fear.
4. They don’t know everything either.
When I am making a case for Christ with some of my classmates, sometimes I feel like I don’t know enough. I have come to realize that the person I am talking to feels the same way. It’s impossible to know everything, you can educate yourself on as much information as you want, but there still may be a hard question to answer. That is okay, you don’t need to know all the answers, but don’t be arrogant and pompous, blocking the love of Christ from being shown.
5. Prayer is an essential.
As I have learned through experience effective ways to share the Gospel and defend my faith, I have seen that in America especially, we don’t use prayer to its full potential. This is even more true with teenagers in general: we don’t pray. Part of this is because we weren’t taught much about it, but that is no excuse. When sharing God’s love continuously with a friend, like in a school setting, it MUST be accompanied by prayer. Ask that God would move His Spirit through that person and give you the right words to say. God hears our prayers.
How Do I Overcome My Initial Fear?
Well, there are several approaches to this question. The truth is that sharing your faith will not always be easy, it has to be worked towards. I want to show an approach that I believe is most effective. You have to be comfortable sharing the Gospel with yourself before you can share it with others.
I enjoy playing basketball, but I don’t ever get better at it unless I practice. Often times, this means giving up time I would put elsewhere. The same is with sharing your faith: if you don’t practice it, you won’t be good at it. The very thing that makes the Gospel so encouraging is because it is personal. Your first interaction with the Gospel was within yourself. When you were freed from your sins and imperfections, that’s when you knew you had to share it!
Apply It, Share Your Faith!
I encourage you to write out your testimony on some paper. If you are trying to figure out what your story is, try to think about when you first heard of the gospel and how it changed your life. Practice sharing your testimony with your family first. Ask them how you can improve it or if you are missing something. Continue practicing so that you know your testimony without having to think about it.
After you’ve become comfortable sharing with yourself and at home, you can begin doing it in public. Ask a friend if you can share your story with them. They will almost always say yes. Then, the stage is all yours to present the Gospel, showing how YOUR life has been changed by Christ.