There is a difference between Openly sharing your Faith and sharing your faith openly
Jesus was speaking about the personal relationship God desires with us during His Sermon on the Mount. To get His point across He spoke of those who parade their faith seeking accolades and fame:
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:1-4
Now, parading faith is just as bad as faking it because our faith actions are supposed to be a reflection of God in our lives. When a person conducts him/her self in this manner they are praising themselves and seek human appreciation not God’s. This goes for our entire walk, especially prayer as He says,
“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites, who love to pray standing in the synagogues and on street corners, so that people can see them. Yes! I tell you, they have their reward already! But you, when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. “And when you pray, don’t babble on and on like the pagans, who think God will hear them better if they talk a lot. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:5-8
When it comes to prayer, it should be heartfelt, fervent, and never ceasing. If you are in church and chosen to pray ahead of time, do not make it sound as if rehearsed. People can tell a heartfelt prayer versus a theatrical rehearsed reciting of what is written in front of you. I recently witnessed this occurrence during two morning services where the individual who prayed at both sounded completely rehearsed and exactly the same both times. This was during a traditional mixed then a contemporary service. A written prayer is fine but one must concern themselves only with what God desires from the person and the corporate situation in prayer. Also, when praying with certain congregants, understand who is in the hearing of the prayer.
Prayer, once again, is a personal thing between us and God. Yes He already knows what is on our hearts and minds but He wants to hear it from our lips. Corporate prayer should also be heartfelt, inclusive of all present, and not rehearsed to the point of sounding fake. Many televangelists take what the hypocrites of old did and go one step further. You can tell who are fully scripted down to how to react during certain prayers and who are truly praying.
God spoke through Isaiah about speaking only as He has put on our hearts to speak. Not giving into society but being only with a mind of God.
For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. Isaiah 8:11-13
I add this because sometimes those who speak openly are speaking the human agenda and not God’s Will. They speak with a personal agenda in mind and not God’s Plan. To this Peter writes:
But treat the Messiah as holy, as Lord in your hearts; while remaining always ready to give a reasoned answer to anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you — yet with humility and fear, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are spoken against, those who abuse the good behavior flowing from your union with the Messiah may be put to shame. 1 Peter 3:15-16
Our relationship with God is 100% a personal thing and should be shared but there is a difference in mankind sharing and the sharing through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Mankind sharing is putting God’s Word to the test on how many a person can get to listen through outdoor openness then leaving them wondering without any sort of after preaching prayer, conversations, or follow up. Sharing in the Spirit is when you are called to share with a person who God puts in place for them to hear the Word through your personal, heart transforming story and how Jesus came into your life.
When on a mission there are numerous sharing opportunities. We must learn to recognize the show-boaters and attention grabbers (the look at me Christian), take them aside and give them something to do where they are humbled. The humble Christian is used by the Spirit, while the showboat is used by the devil.
Do you Openly share your Faith or share your faith openly