Have you ever tried to explain your faith to someone? Ever had to respond to a question like, “So why do you believe in God, anyway?” Maybe you’ve had that experience. But many of us have not been asked to articulate to someone what we believe or why we believe it. When we’re immersed in a culture where Christianity is the cultural norm in many places, we assume a lot. This was hardly the case in the beginning of Christianity.
In today’s Scripture, Paul is presenting the Gospel to the leaders of this community for their consideration. The end of verse 2 offers essential wisdom. Paul expresses concern that he was not running and had not been running my race in vain (NIV). In Paul’s setting, his success or failure to present the Gospel compellingly is of the utmost importance. In our settings, we may find it easy to live our lives of faith quietly. Sometimes we do so with the best of intentions. We don’t want people to think we are forcing our beliefs on them or feel that we are being “holier than thou.”
But sometimes in our quest to avoid offending others, we forget how to invite people into relationship with Jesus by presenting a compelling vision of the Gospel with our lives, words, and actions. Paul is successful here, but he was not always. Like Paul, we will sometimes face failure, skepticism, and even ridicule when we publicly proclaim our faith. But a loud, robust faith of love and inclusion inspired by the life of Christ is what we are called to embrace. So let us not forget how to shout it from the rooftops.
If we remember that we need to present a compelling vision of the Gospel with our lives, words, and actions, how might we live that out today?
Holy One, guide us to lead lives that shout your glory, grace, and goodness, so that they will know we are Christians by our love. Amen.