We live in a culture where many people are asking questions and putting Christians on the spot. This makes some Christians nervous and so they avoid spiritual discussions all together.
Is there a way to remove this nervousness and build confidence in these situations?
One summer while in college, I decided to try my hand at being a baseball umpire. I had played the game my whole life and didn’t think it would be too hard. Knowing that it was my responsibility to understand the rules and be ready to respond to the coach’s objections, I spent time before every game studying the rules that were different for each age level. When I knew the rules well, I had a confidence when I entered the game and I was able to respond to any objections raised by the coaches. This removed much of my nervousness that I had before each game.
There was one game I remember very well. It was a special tournament and I couldn’t find the adjusted rules anywhere. After searching and not being able to prepare, I entered the game a bit nervous. When I made a questionable call at one point, it all started to fall apart. The coaches began to object to my call and I didn’t have an answer. I wanted to hide behind my mask and get out of the situation.
I think a similar thing happens to many people that want to enter into a spiritual discussion with unbelievers. They know that many of their unbelieving friends will raise objections and ask questions, and they don’t feel prepared to respond. The fear of being unable to respond keeps them on the sidelines and they never attempt to share their beliefs. I believe that just like I had to prepare for each game, we as Christians need to prepare to share the hope that we have with unbelievers. When we feel prepared in our ability to respond well, we will be confident to dive into a spiritual discussion the next time the opportunity presents itself. Spend some time studying objections to Christianity that are common in today’s culture and understand why you believe what you believe. This will build up your confidence to share your faith with others and destroy many of your fears.
May 7, 2015 at 12:27 pm
I believe you are touching on an important point. There is a strong tendency to avoid the conversation so as to keep from getting backed into a corner. I had a recent, brief exchange with an atheist on Twitter that shows how quickly a conversation can lead to nuances in language and such. See more here: https://twitter.com/chris_mcclave/status/595585198265241600
We do have a responsibility to learn and be prepared to defend our faith, however there is also a role that the Holy Spirit plays in leading us during such a discussion; we need to tune in to Him.
May 7, 2015 at 12:31 pm
I completely agree. I was touching on the pre-conversation feelings. Sometimes the Holy Spirit can’t even get involved because we are scared to take the first step. If we build our confidence to enter the game, the Holy Spirit will lead us to do it well.
May 7, 2015 at 12:57 pm
Hey I hope you don’t mind, but I added you to my blogroll on http://www.chrismcclave.com. I am enjoying your content and think others should see it too. Keep up the great work Ryan. –Chris McClave
May 7, 2015 at 2:04 pm
I don’t mind at all. Thanks Chris!
May 20, 2015 at 10:32 am
I agree wholeheartedly with preparation being a vital part of confidence in defending the faith. We can read and study and prepare to defend our faith, but at some point we must, as you say in your post, “get in the game”. One way for us to get into the game is to begin sharing our reasons for believing with other believers. By doing this, we sharpen and encourage one another while becoming a bit more comfortable with giving answers for our faith. I also believe there is great benefit for the Christians in sharing (and part of sharing is defending) their faith based on the prayer of Paul in Philemon 6, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of good thing we have in Christ.”
Thanks for the post Ryan. I look forward to reading more of your work.
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