Developing Confidence in Your Faith
Last year, I talked about the rich and wonderful ways God blesses us. I reminded people that God didn’t bless them for their own sake, but so they may be a blessing to others. I talked about doing acts of kindness, taking time to share a meal, listening to others tell their stories, and knowing what the Christian story is. In essence, Michael Frost's BELLS which he talks about in his short book "Surprise the World" (Navpress, 2016).
Peter reminds us that we should always be ready to offer a reason for our faith when asked (1 Pt 3:15). Yet we seem to be readier to offer excuses for our faith than a clear expression of it. We are like Jeremiah, finding a reason not to speak. Sadly, the reason is often our ignorance or lack of knowledge. In my 03/02/19 sermon I talk about how we gain confidence through familiarity. The more we read the Gospel story the more confident we are in giving an account of Jesus and the love he has, not just for us, but for all people.
I invite you to use February and become more familiar with Jesus’ story. To do this, I suggest you simply stay with Mark’s gospel, read it, and read it again, and again, and again. Here’s a plan you may like to follow:
Monday – jot down in a notebook everything you can remember about the story of Jesus, try and get them in some sequence of events.
Tuesday – read Mark 1-4
Wednesday – read Mark 5-8
Thursday – read Mark 9-12
Friday – read Mark 13-16
Do this every week in February. That means you will have read through Mark’s Gospel at least 4 times. If you can do it more, all the better. You might like to consider having a friend do it with you. That way you could meet for a coffee ‘n’ chat, try and work out what you remember about Jesus’ story, and encourage each other to persist in reading and re-reading Mark’s Gospel.
You will be amazed how much you will grow in your faith by this simple activity. Not only will you grow, but you will gain a new-found confidence. A confidence in a God who loves you deeply, and confidence in seeing how this same God loves and cares for your family, friends, neighbours, colleagues and others.