Do you find yourself shying away from sharing your faith?
Imagine you had discovered an island full of treasure and you knew that your discovery would totally change your life. Would you keep it a secret or let your family and friends know about it?
Our faith and hope in Jesus is the greatest treasure we could ever discover and one we are instructed to share with the world.
Like me, I’m sure you’re passionate about your relationship with Jesus but you may struggle to speak to others about it. For many of us, the greatest hindrance is the fear of offending others and/or appearing foolish.
This past weekend at a Church event in a tranquil country holiday Park in Wales, my heart was stirred. I was inspired and encouraged to live out my faith with boldness and share the hope that I carry within.
As I reflect on the words that were spoken at the event, I am reminded of some magnificent trees I saw recently at a park. When I look at trees I see a display of confidence, strength, courage and concern for others. I hope by the time you finish reading this post you will be converted to a tree lover.
‘I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.’
So, what valuable lessons about courage can we learn from trees?
Walking through the park I noticed how the trees varied in size and height yet they had one thing in common; they stood tall and proud. Each of them telling their own story.
For their stability, trees depend on their root system; some like the oak tree, develop deep roots into the ground and others like the mighty Redwood have shallow but widespread interlocking root system.
This fact about trees reminds us of the need to know our identity and to be firmly convinced about our belief in Jesus.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Col 2:6,7
Being secure in the knowledge that God loves us gives us the confidence to pursue His purpose for us. Knowing our value and significance in God’s overall plan for the world will help us to stand up tall and be seen for who we are.
Apart from their majestic and unique look, each tree bore something else. They each had visible scars from where their branches had been cut or broken off. There was even one tree with a trunk that was partly burnt. All that was left was a hollow space in the trunk full of black soot yet despite the fire damage, the tree was still standing tall and it’s leaves remained ever so green and it continued to play its role in the ecosystem.
What I learn from the trees and their scars is that our unpleasant experiences can become a powerful witness of what God has done in our life.
‘And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony’ Rev 12:11
I was recently chuffed when one of my friends graduated from University. About two years before, she was on the verge of quitting, when she came across my post on Facebook. I had shared my story about how I had made a difficult decision to resubmit my dissertation. Sharing my story of failure and triumph gave her the courage and hope to push forward in her studies. From that experience, I learnt that vulnerability takes courage and that it helps to opens a door for others. When we are brave enough to share how God has given us hope in our marriage, work, studies or other situation, it gives other people a curiosity and a chance to discover the source of your hope.
Do you know that trees talk to each other? They share nutrients, warn each other of danger and support each other in difficult times – I’m not kidding.
Research studies on trees and forests reveal that forests are not simply a collection of trees. They have a complex network system that allows them to communicate and support one another. Scientists have likened these network systems to communities or families.
It can be quite scary when you set out to do something on your own. Being part of a Church community helps to connect us to others who share the same passion we have. None of us was meant to be an island. We are designed to be a part of a living and growing community of people. In the Bible we are encouraged to nurture community amongst us;
We must not quit meeting together, as some are doing. No, we need to keep on encouraging each other. Heb 10:25
How should we approach the call to share our faith?
The reason we have faith and hope in Jesus is that someone was courageous enough to share with us. And it helps to keep in mind that sharing our faith is not about imposing our beliefs on others, but about allowing others to know the amazing hope and transformation we have received through Jesus.
I’d love to hear your suggestions and experience about sharing your hope in Jesus.