I went to college at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. One of the most beautiful places on earth. Just the memories of my college years make me feel warm and fuzzy. I had full scholarships and so with the exception of two summers, I didn't have to work. My roommates were my best friends and we eeked out every last bit of fun to be had.
FLC is a secular campus and, I think it's safe to say, pretty hostile to Christianity. Awesome. Seriously, I mean that. It was the best place I could be. If we grow up around people who think the same way we do and that's all we ever know, how do we learn to engage others of different beliefs, right?
I was very involved in our campus Christian club and we were extensively discipled and grown up in the Christian faith. We were taught a lot of Apologetics, which, simply put, is giving a sound, reasonable explanation for the Christian faith. (Of which there are many.)
Paul says in the last part of 1st Peter 3:15, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."
My friends, there are so many sound, reasonable arguments for the existence of God and the validity of the Bible, it's amazing. It blows my mind.
My senior year I was in a Sociology class and I asked the teacher if I could share my faith with the class at the end of the semester. I had shared my faith before in other classes but this was the first time I had asked for a specific time in the class to do it.
She said yes (I loved this teacher, it still makes me smile to think of her) and decided that she would leave the whole last class open for everyone to share whatever they wanted to share about themselves. The days leading up to this class were exciting. I remember asking Austin and Laura and Nate and Erin to please be praying during the specific time of the class. I also asked a friend along to be with me during it.
Once the actual day came I was literally sick to my stomach with fear. I felt nauseous. I was about to tell a class of 25 students that we are sinful, there is only one way to God and that's through Jesus Christ, and that we are without excuse as Romans 1 tells us because even Creation bears Him witness. That's all soda pops and butterflies when you're sitting in your Sunday School class but when you're sitting in a classroom with people of wildly different beliefs (of which I'd heard throughout the semester), it's rather terrifying.
Because let's face it, none of us likes to be disliked. We all want others' approval to some extent. I'd had a great time in that class and enjoyed my fellow classmates and teacher, and I didn't want to end it with them thinking I was a fundamentalist crazy.
In 2nd Corinthians 12, Paul says that he would boast in his weakness because God's grace is sufficient for him and that His power is made perfect in weakness.
I was so weak in myself. I had no confidence in me pulling it off. I think I said something to the Lord along the lines of, You're going to have to do this, I'm terrified.
Class started. The time came. I opened my mouth in faith and spoke words of Truth that I believe are the surest all of creation has ever known.
Friends, it was a defining faith moment in my life and one I think about regularly. The presence of the Holy Spirit was so pervasive that once I began speaking, it was as if He took over and spoke Himself to people that He loves more deeply than they could ever fathom.
I didn't leave one thing out. And once I finished there was complete silence. For probably a good 30 seconds, which is a long time when you're waiting for that first stone to be cast.
But the most amazing thing about it was there were no stones. In fact, I could see on their faces this openness and genuine questioning and they even did have some questions for me. It was something that only the Lord could have done. And I hope I see some of those students in Eternity one day.
So, on this Faith-Filled Friday, I remind myself of God's power in our weakness. I remind myself that when I am "strong" in myself, I am missing out on dimensions of God's power in my life that I can only see in my weakness. And I remind you of what my friend, Nate, said this morning:
In Acts 10:42-43 Peter preaches a simple gospel. When sharing your faith, don't be so worried about what you say as that you say it. It's not our intelligence that saves people, it's the power of Christ.
Be weak in yourself but strong in Christ.