Do We Have Faith In Action — or Faith Inaction?
Many of us have forgotten the Great Commission if we ever knew it. Re-read Matthew 28:19. The word “go” is an action verb. It’s our assignment to go into our sphere of influence and make an impact for the Gospel, not just through prayer but in living our faith and boldly sharing it with others. Our mission field may be our neighbors, our community or the world, but we each have at least one.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19-20)
To use a football analogy as we move into the playoff season, we need to get off the bench and get in the game. Physically, we cannot stay fit if we don’t move. The same is true if we hope to stay spiritually fit; we must exercise our faith. Evangelism should be a natural outflow of healthy faith, bubbling forth from within us as we share the hope and certainty of our salvation through the risen Christ.
We have the very keys to life everlasting in the palms of our hands within the living Word of God — the Bible — which is what inspires my work at EEM (Eastern European Mission). I strive every day to get the Bible into as many hands — and hearts — as possible.
Each of us, as Christians, also has the knowledge of salvation written upon our hearts plus a command from Jesus to share it with others. So whether our “day job” provides us the opportunity to share with others or not, it is in our daily life outside of work that I believe most of us allow fear or apathy to paralyze us into an inactive faith.
Are We Fearful of the Opinions of Others?
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
I expect this is the primary reason why believers don’t evangelize more. Whether we struggle with fear of man due to a perceived need for acceptance, approval, honor or recognition — this fear is ultimately rooted in a fear of rejection, criticism or humiliation in some capacity. When we experience these things — whether it has been in the evangelistic sense or from within past social experiences — we tend to second-guess our decision-making, becoming timid rather than audacious, experiencing low self-confidence, allowing our self-worth to be governed by others, ultimately shrinking our faith activity — or becoming inactive in faith altogether.
What it comes down to is this: do we love others more than ourselves? We might believe we’re being “sensitive” to the beliefs of others by not sharing our testimonies. Instead, we must ask ourselves this: Is fear of offending others rooted in a fear that their opinions of us will ultimately be lowered?
If we truly love someone, wouldn’t we rather them be temporarily offended and have the opportunity to hear the Gospel on this side of eternity? Or would we rather avoid temporary discomfort altogether, potentially allowing them to spend eternity in hell?
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16)
Are We Apathetic — Simply ‘Too Busy’ to Share the Gospel?
We have an immense calling on this side of heaven. Our purpose is not to have great careers, striving to each achieve the American dream. No, we are called to more. Some might read this, thinking, “Yes, but I want all these things; I can still achieve my material goals, believe in God, go to church and have salvation in Christ.” Sure, this might be true.
But what about others? What about those who don’t know Jesus yet? Are we really willing to live comfortable lives in our own little bubbles, maintaining decent careers and family lives, all at the cost of denying others the opportunity for salvation? Are we willing to forgo our purpose by not intentionally making time to share the Gospel?
There are, indeed — no matter our unique locations, ages, livelihoods or circumstances — countless opportunities each and every day, everywhere we go, to share the Gospel. This is evident. Whether we are boldly sharing our testimonies with our local baristas, discussing the Gospel with our bosses or training up our children every day in the Word of God and in prayer — every encounter in our lives is an opportunity for ministry.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)
The Lord wants to use each of us. He wants to ignite our divinely-created passions, skill sets and opportunities to inspire life in others, gifting them with lasting salvation, freedom and joy from the truth of the Gospel. This requires us to be in-action, Spirit-filled people void of fear and apathy.
It is only when we look at every single soul with the eyes of Jesus that we begin to see the weight of our true calling in the Great Commission. Sharing the Gospel should not just be a piece of our lives — it should be the point of our lives.
Bob Burckle is President of EEM (Eastern European Mission), which has been providing Bibles and biblical literature to the people of Eastern Europe since 1961, now reaching 32 countries in 25 languages. EEM distributed 1.95 million books in 2022 — all free of charge. See more at www.eem.org.