You don't have to be a Bible scholar to share your faith
I come from a line of storytellers. My grandmother tells the story of the time she almost shot her son, my father, who was trying to sneak out by climbing down the side of the house. My grandmother was terrified someone was breaking into the house and did the only thing she knew to do: get her shotgun and hope for the best.
That story tells me a lot about my dad and my grandmother. Stories make a description of a person or situation vivid and alive. Facts can easily slip out of our minds. Stories have staying power.
The Bible is a set of accounts, of life-changing stories. The Gospel — the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection — is the most powerful story, and it has huge implications for our lives today.
The Bible can also be intimidating. To someone who doesn’t know Jesus, Scripture can seem like a giant set of do’s and don’ts. For Christians, it’s easy to feel ill-equipped to speak about truths found in the Bible and answer theologically tinged questions.
What if we dialed back the anxiety? What if we worried less about knowing the exact Bible verses and holding all the answers, and instead tuned into one tool every Christian has? If Jesus is changing our lives, we have something to say about the Gospel. And that something may be the very thing someone needs to hear.
You Don't Need to Know the Answers
There is a remarkable story in John 9 of Jesus healing a man born blind. It is worth a read through the chapter — Jesus spits, rubs mud on the man’s eyes, and sends the now-seeing man back into the community.
Of course, people asked. Of course, people who knew the man noticed. Religious leaders had questions, and his parents were not quite sure what to think or say: "Who did this to you? Who was this man? Why were you healed?"
There is a lot of hope and power in the man's response: “I don’t know how to answer all of your questions, but I know I was blind and now I see.” He shared the good news that changed his life.
Start With I Am
I don't know all the answers, but I am healed.
In the Old Testament, God uses the simple phrase "I am" to describe who He is. When Moses asks what he should say about Him, God replies simply, "I am who I am" (Exodus 3:13-14). Jesus invokes the same phrase many times in the New Testament: “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35), “I am the Son of God” (Matthew 27:43), “I am the way” (John 14:6).
When we say, “I am _______,” and fill in the blank with parts of our story, it is very hard for another person to tell us we are not.
I am changed.
I am well.
I am less angry.
I am more patient.
Like the blind man, we may not be able to trace back all the steps, every verse, or every ounce of how we have been changed in Jesus, but we can say, “I am_____.”
"I am" can open the door just a little for people to trust our story and in turn trust Jesus, who is writing it. The Gospel of Jesus changes us, and it can change them, too.
Honest Is Better Than Pretty
This takes courage. Telling our story to others will take a measure of honesty. We can be brave enough to admit to a boatload of faults and failures, and just as brave in speaking about how Jesus has changed us.
Our stories start with honesty, with speaking about who we were, who we are now, and Jesus is the difference.
Our story is one way the Lord equips us to speak truth about who he is and what he is doing around the world.
It also takes courage to admit we don't have all the answers. It takes a truly humble heart to sit across from a friend, relative, or coworker and admit the Bible confuses us at times or we don't always know how to navigate theological gray areas. Humility is disarming and speaks volumes. Being vulnerable with our stories and honest about our shortcomings can put people at ease and may encourage others to do the same.
We do not have to be an expert theologian to speak the truth about what Jesus has done in our lives. Our story is one way the Lord equips us to speak the truth about who He is and what He is doing around the world. We can be honest about who we are and what we don't know. Start with your story and trust Jesus to open up a world of ministry better than we imagine.