3 Theological Reminders
From a theological perspective, there are several important things to keep in mind as we share God’s Word and stories about His work in our lives with social media.
Our Job is to be Witnesses for Jesus
Just as witnesses to a traffic accident see and experience different aspects of the same event, we need to remember people see, hear and understand different things at different stages and seasons of life. Jesus shared “The Parable of the Sower” to highlight several lessons. One of those lessons is that it’s our job to share God’s Word and our experiences with God in our lives, but we should expect different people to “see, hear and receive” those messages differently. In explaining the parable to his disciples, Jesus highlighted this reality.
‘He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.’
We should constantly pray that the words we say and the things we do would bring glory to God and serve as a signpost to others to see, hear, and follow Jesus Christ. It is not up to us to change people’s hearts and minds and “win them to Christ,” it is God who does that work. Our task is to be witnesses to the truth we know and the relationship we have with Jesus. We are called to be His witnesses here on earth, both face-to-face and in the increasingly digital communications landscape of the twenty-first century.
God is at work
It is important as we share Bible verses and messages about God, we remember “It is God who is at work in us” and we pray to be used by His Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians:
‘My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. ‘
In the Gospel of John, we read Jesus’ response to religious leaders of the day who criticized him for “working on the Sabbath.”
‘But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” ‘
God is at work in all circumstances and at all times. Therefore no matter where we find ourselves, our prayer can be and should be that we would be used as God’s instrument on earth to share and show His love and His truth with others.
Sharing Christ Can Be Risky
Make no mistake: Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ in our world filled with darkness is fraught with danger and peril. While followers of Jesus throughout the ages (and even today in countries where Christians are persecuted for their faith) have been subject to terrible physical punishments, there are both psychological as well as relational costs to sharing about Jesus with others. Jesus told his followers and the crowd gathered to listen to him, during the sermon on the mount, to expect suffering and hardship.
‘“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.’
Many non-believers have encountered Christians previously, and have drawn conclusions about Jesus and his followers as a result of those experiences. Hopefully those experiences were positive, but plenty of examples abound of “Christians” who have turned others off through their evangelistic methods or even been theologically misdirected in their professed advocacy for cause of Christ. Historically, the Crusades of the Medieval Period come to mind as an obvious example.
Even through people may have heard of Jesus, Christianity and Christians, you may be the only person someone knows or has in their “circle of trust” who professes faith in Jesus Christ. Do your co-workers know you are a Christian? A sometime popular message on church outdoor signs reads:
“If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
Others should know we are Christians and followers of Jesus Christ primarily by our actions, rather than merely by our words. The song, “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love” was based on John 13:34-35:
‘Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. ‘
Despite the primacy and importance of actions in defining us as Christians, our words also matter and make a difference. And it is not just “our words” which matter, the words of God shared through the Bible matter even more. As Christians, we understand God’s Word is alive and powerful. In the Book of Hebrews we read:
‘For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. ‘
When we share Bible verses, we are sharing a message which has the power to transform the minds of Christian believers as well as non-believers. People follow diverse paths to the feet of Jesus! While we cannot predict with certainty how a non-believer will come to know and profess faith in Jesus Christ, we DO know God’s Word is powerful and has been given to us to both read and share with others.
Be encouraged to share Jesus, the words of the Bible, and stories of how God is moving in your own life! If you do not share Jesus and the reason for your hope and joy with others around you, who will? Writing to his fellow disciple Timothy, the Apostle Paul encouraged him with these words:
‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. ‘
The same God who walked with and worked through Paul and Timothy works within our own hearts and minds today! Choose carefully and prayerfully how you share Jesus Christ with others, but as a Christian, choose to share Him! God is at work, and as we prayerfully invite Jesus to guide and direct us He will not fail to light our path.
“sunlit path” (CC BY 2.0) by barryskeates
You ARE Qualified to Share Jesus
If you have confessed your sins to God and invited Jesus Christ into your heart to be your Lord and Savior, then you are qualified to share about Him with others. As Christians and followers of Jesus we should be committed to both the study of the Bible and regular prayer to and with God. We do not need to attend and graduate from a theological seminary, or be formally ordained by an organized church body, however, to be both equipped and qualified to share about Jesus with others.
As noted in the 1998 book, “Missional Church,” many Christians in North America have grown up in traditions which emphasize the work of professional pastors and church administrators over the work of laity or church members for the cause of Christ. This has contributed to a traditional church culture in parts of North America which emphasizes church attendance and more passive participation in the life of the church, as it is actively led by “the professionals,” rather than an empowered culture which views all church members are vital, working parts of the ecclesiastical body.
In the fourth chapter of his letter to the church at Ephesus, the apostle Paul used the metaphor of the human body to explain how each of us have roles within the family of God to serve Him and share His truth with others.
‘He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.’
You have important work to do in the body of Christ. Part of that work involves sharing your journey of growing faith in Jesus, and your “testimony” as a witness of the good works God continues to do through His people on earth.
It’s a Journey
Sharing about Jesus Christ and our faith in God is a journey. At different times and seasons of our lives, we gain new insights into God’s nature and His character. We experience highs and lows, in which we have opportunities to walk more closely with God or push Him away. Through the dark valleys of our lives, when we feel most alone and may even feel abandoned by others, to the mountaintop “high” experiences of joy, achievement, and/or peace, we can and should turn to God as our rock and our steadfast hope amidst the changing tides of life.
When we are called according to His purposes, God can and does use the experiences of our lives to connect with others in relationship and help support them in their hours of need. In the eighth chapter of his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote:
‘And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. ‘
Be encouraged to share your journey of faith, following and walking with Jesus Christ. Your highs, your lows, your doubts, and your convictions, each perspective has the potential to connect with others and point them directly to God and his transforming love. As you prayerfully invite God to use you as an instrument of his will, He will open doors (both literal and figurative) for you to share about Him and proclaim his goodness to a dark world in desperate need of community, faith, hope and love.
- Parable of the Sower. (2019). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Parable_of_the_Sower&oldid=890842786 ↵
- Christian Persecution Today. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2019, from Open Doors USA website: https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/ ↵
- Sermon on the Mount. (2019). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Sermon_on_the_Mount&oldid=891837575 ↵
- Crusades. (2019). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Crusades&oldid=893036588 ↵
- Could a Jury Convict You of Being a Christian? (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2019, from https://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/galleries/could-a-jury-convict-you-of-being-a-christian.aspx ↵
- They’ll Know We Are Christians. (2018). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=They%27ll_Know_We_Are_Christians&oldid=840428865 ↵
- Barrett, L. (1998). Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America: The People of God Sent on a Mission (D. L. Guder & G. R. Hunsberger, Eds.). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ↵