“We are the Bibles the world is reading; we are the creeds the world is needing; we are the sermons the world is heeding.”
By: Rachele Blick
Edited by: Lauren Michelle
Cover Photography by: Shayla Alexander, @unrestrainedart // @imshaylakay
What Does Your Life Tell Of Your Faith?
Recently, Hawk Nelson’s lead singer claimed on social media that he no longer believes in God. Despite growing up in the church and singing for a Christian band, the idea of evil and the Bible’s infallible nature did not sit well.
This got me thinking: what if Christians are not doing a good job of witnessing? According to Merriam Webster, a witness is “someone who gives evidence or personal knowledge of something.” So, if someone claims to be a Christian yet his or her life does not give evidence to one no longer bound to sin, it can be difficult to share Christ with others. We are meant to be a witness and share how God is working in our lives.
As Billy Graham said, sometimes we are the only Bible people read. We are the only sermons they hear. So if our lives appear more culturally bound than biblically bound, then a Christian’s ability to witness falters under the weight of not being authentic.
So How Does A Christian Lose Credibility?
1. Not Reading The Bible Consistently
According to a study conducted by LifeWay Research in 2019, 32% of Americans who regularly attend a protestant church read their Bibles while 27% of the churchgoers read it a few times a week.
If someone were to ask what is the easiest way for a Christian to lose credibility, it’s by not knowing their Bibles. A Christian loses not just knowledge on the Word, but also having a relationship with God. As well, not knowing the Bible can lead to people twisting the Scriptures to suit their needs or people using it for political reasons.
2. Low Involvement in Church and Christian Community
It’s easy to be isolated. It’s easy to believe that all we need is knowing Jesus and that’s it. However, a good way to close credibility is to not be plugged into a church and attend a small group. Attending church allows one to build strong relationships with older Christians and be surrounded by a good support system.
If a Christian claims to love Jesus but hates the church, it is paradoxical. Now, everyone has a testimony about the church, especially if one has been hurt. Yet the church is dear to Jesus. It is important for all to be connected to a community to have accountability and good teachers to lead us in our faith walk. According to LifeWay Research, 66% of young adults in America drop out of church between the ages of 18 to 22.
3. The Love is Gone
Recently, Lauren posted an article about how to have good conversations with others. What made that article stand out to me was active listening. Active listening allows you to concentrate on what the person says. Another way I like to think of it is that you love the person enough to hear them.
But if your worldview is only framed by what you believe and not framed in love, then what is the point of a conversation? Simply put, a good way to lose your credibility is to not love. Without love guiding your intentions, there is a risk of losing that person’s trust. Therefore, it is important to build a relationship with someone, have those hard conversations, and have a bond despite disagreements.
How To Gain Credibility Back
Now, let’s talk about how a Christian can gain back their credibility. Because if we don’t figure out how to gain back credibility, then our actions appear hypocritical to others, and it makes them turn away from the church.
1. Read the Bible Consistently
The most simple way to gain credibility is to read the Bible. It seems like a no-brainer. And in a way, it is. The best way to know God is to read what He inspired!
That said, where to start? Check out Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin, who outlines how to study the Bible. Get a study Bible. Both of those resources helped me understand the Bible and helped me grow spiritually.
The Blue Letter Bible App is an abundant resource that breaks down what the verses mean and connects them to other scriptures. Make sure to have a dictionary by you to look up words you’re not familiar with.
2. Seek Community and Ask for Wisdom
This would mean asking wisdom from God. God gives generously! Ask Him for wisdom for reading His word, prayer, and living a credible Christian life. Also, ask mature Christians how to read and be a Christian. They understand trials, temptations, and knowing how to pray. So talk to them. Join a church and have a diverse friend group. Surrounding yourself with friends who are serious about their faith will help guide and encourage you.
3. Self-Evaluate Your Life as a Witness for Christ
Perhaps this step is the hardest because not many of us enjoy evaluating ourselves. I know I can be too harsh on myself when I haven’t made the steps I needed to take in order to grow spiritually.
But this is important. To give you an idea of how this works, I used inductive studying for the Bible in 2018 and have been doing so ever since. Every couple of months, I would look back through my notes and journal entries to see how far I’ve come. Though not all entries were happy, they were true as I wrote my heart to God. And it is through evaluating myself did I realize God carried me through this process. He helped me become a credible witness.
And I know He wants the same for you. He loves you.
Seeking Him always,
Also by Rachele: An Open Letter to The Christian Finding Jesus
Video: Branch Together Inductive Bible Study
Book on Prayer: Fervent by Priscilla Shirer