6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
Why can it be so hard to share our faith at times? I think it is easy to fear the difficulty, perhaps we are afraid that we won’t know what to say; maybe we think it is awkward to talk about our faith. There is one reason that many Christians have that causes them to fail to share their faith. Paul talks about this in 2nd Timothy 1. Timothy is a young guy who is trying to live out his faith in the midst of an anti-Christian culture. Sound familiar? In the midst of this, Paul encourages Timothy to not be so timid and fearful. Who knows what Timothy was fearful of. Maybe he wasn’t good with words, maybe he was afraid of a hostile audience. Who knows what Timothy's fears were? Frankly, many of the things that he thought are probably not too dissimilar to the things that go through our minds. Paul's encouragement tells us something about our fears about sharing our faith. Paul's encouragement is that Timothy "...not be ashamed of the testimony our Lord..." Paul warns Timothy that our fear, apprehension and anxiety at the prospect of sharing the gospel could possibly be from our confidence in the gospel itself. The confidence that we have in sharing the gospel is not in us. Our confidence is not in our abilities or in our skills in sharing the gospel message. Our confidence is in Christ. Jesus did everything that makes the message of the gospel incredible and valuable. In other words, we don’t need to dress up the gospel by sharing eloquently or with fancy words. Paul says this in 1 Corinthians when he writes
"And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom."
The gospel is amazing enough that it doesn’t lose any of its wonder as we share it imperfectly or even through stutters and stammers. Paul says that Christ "...destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." That’s a very big deal. If we fail to understand that the gospel is enough by itself, we will fail to share it.
The second reason we can fail to share the gospel, is that we can fail to have confidence in the gospel itself. Paul says "Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day." We can fail to share the gospel because we ourselves have not totally understood it. In other words, in the back of our minds is the thought that the gospel is not enough. Paul encourages us by telling us that we are completely secure in the gospel of Christ. If we are in Christ Jesus we have no reason to fear anything, because in the most important thing, our salvation, we are safe and secure. This is a comforting thought, and yet many Christians are embarrassed to talk about the gospel to their friends because they have this idea that being spiritually minded means you are some kind of emotional decision maker or an impressionable person. We have to recognize that the gospel is what saves us and gives us the hope to wake up in the morning.