I have often heard other believers say, “I am a private Christian”. Let me say up front that I think all followers of Christ should be a good witness without saying a word. Our demeanor and our countenance should reflect the goodness and the glory of the risen Savior. Christ’s life manifested through our life should bring a glow of inner peace without us having to say a single word.
Have you ever been approached by a total stranger and have them say, “There is something different about you?” One time in the middle of a writing seminar that I was attending, the instructor stopped and looked at me and said, “There is a quality about you that is different.” I must admit I was a little embarrassed but it was the highest compliment someone could ever pay me. He may have not known that it was Christ in me that gave off that “something different”, but I knew the true source. I am not telling you this so you will think I am super spiritual, but to merely reinforce the point of the importance of resting in Christ in order than others can see Christ in our life without us being preachy.
That leads me to the other point I want to discuss and that is having the attitude of being a “private or secret disciple”. Over the years I have had many believers tell me without provocation, that they were a “private Christian” and they kept their Christianity to themselves. In other words, they didn’t see the importance of engaging in conversation with the culture about their faith. I have a problem with that. If our life is to glorify God in all that we do then we will be forced to engage with the culture regarding the truth of the gospel. We are not saved to keep quiet. According to the Scripture, there is no such thing as “private Christianity.”
In 2 Corinthians 4 Paul is describing to the church at Corinth the importance of suffering and trouble in order that the life of Christ can be manifested in and through our life to the culture. After he explains the benefit and role of suffering he makes quite a profound statement. He is quoting David in Psalms 116:10, “It is written: I believed, therefore I have spoken. Since we have that same spirit of faith, (faith that David had), we also believe and therefore speak.“
Paul is saying that when we believe in a resurrected Savior we can’t help proclaim a resurrected Savior. You may say, “Who are we to tell our neighbor, our friends and our co-workers about Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross for our sin? Who are we to tell them that Jesus is the only way to heaven and that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no man can come to the Father apart from Him?” Wouldn’t that be arrogance? It is only arrogance if it is not true.”
But the gospel is true. Paul even says in the previous letter to the Corinthians in chapter 15, “If Christ has not been raised from the dead, your faith is worthless, you are still in your sins. Then those who have died in Christ have perished. If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most to be pitied.”
But Christ did die for our sins and did rise from the dead and does live to make daily intercession to the Father for us. Therefore, because we have believed we are compelled to share the good news with others. It is the mark of a true follower of Christ. There is no such thing as “private faith”.
Of course I am not advocating that we all stand on the street corner, waving a Bible and screaming like a maniac. I am merely encouraging us to do what comes natural because we are a believer, and that is speaking of the resurrected Savior and how He has impacted our life. By resting in Christ as enough, the Holy Spirit will bring opportunities for us to display the love and compassion of the Savior in our daily walk. We don’t have to be aggressive, obnoxious, loud or irritating, just available to love the unlovely, to encourage the depressed, and then to share the hope of Christ.
We you join me in asking the Holy Spirit to give you a new awareness of those around you who need Christ’s love, compassion and grace? And then ask Him to give you the courage and strength to boldly proclaim your faith in a risen Savior? Like David, do it because “you believe, therefore you speak.”