"I will give thanks unto Jehovah with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvellous works." (ASV)
Do you know Christians who hide their faith? Or maybe you are one? I know there have been times in my life when I've not spoken up about the good things God has done for me. It's an unfortunate habit I'm trying to break.
We as Christians are called to proclaim His good news to the world around us. Jesus said "What I tell you in the darkness, speak ye in the light; and what ye hear in the ear, proclaim upon the house-tops." (Matthew 10:27 ASV) While I don't know that He's actually wanting any of us to climb up on the roof with a bullhorn (please don't try this at home!) I do know that He doesn't want us to remain silent about our faith.
Of course, there are plenty of ways to praise God's name. You don't necessarily have to grab a soapbox and hand out tracts on the busiest street corner you can find. We are certainly permitted to be more subtle than that. Here are a few ways to shine your light that might feel a bit more possible to most of us.
1. Learn to be a good listener. God is glorified when His people reflect His love to a hurting world. Learn to be the kind of person people feel comfortable talking to. Practice your listening skills. Empathize. Let people know you care. Pray for the people around you, and let them know that you are praying for them. You'll find that very few people will be offended if you simply tell them "I'm praying for you" when they're facing difficulties.
2. Listen to Christian praise songs. How many times do you turn on the radio at work or while other people are in the car with you? Do you play music in your home when you have guests? A simple way to brighten their day, and yours, would be to just tune in to some of your favorite Christian artists. No Christian radio station in your town? No problem. Time to make a trip to the CD store or go find some good (non-pirated) MP3s to download!
3. Be courteous. Be the kind of person that people look at and say, "There's something different about him." Hold the door for someone. Greet everyone you meet with a warm smile. Let other drivers merge in front of you. Generally, put other people first. If you don't feel like smiling, just do it anyway -- your mind will eventually catch up to what your face is doing. And when someone inevitably asks "why are you always so nice?" don't be afraid to tell them!
4. Speak up. I know we all come across situations where we feel the Spirit calling us to speak up. Sometimes this takes a lot of courage, but you'll find that the more often you do it, the better you'll feel about it. I have a friend who says "He's listening, go on..." any time she hears someone take the Lord's name in vain. I have yet to hear anyone ridicule her for saying this. Most people just pause a moment to think about what she's said. More often than not, the response we fear is much stronger than the response we're likely to actually encounter.
These are just a few tips that I've found have helped me proclaim Jesus love in this world. There are as many ways to do it as there are people here on earth, so take some time to think of a way you can let people know that you've found the love of God. And be prepared to share about your faith. When people see the change in your attitude, they'll want to know why!