Why is it so difficult to admit that you’re a Christian? Is it possible to stop feeling ashamed of this?
People fight for what they believe in. Around the world, they rise up and struggle for their causes. For some, that means fighting for civil liberties or freedom from oppression. Regardless of how different their cause, people are passionate about their particular interest or campaign, and want everyone else to know. Perhaps for you this means the right to express yourself however you want—and you do, with one exception: when it comes to admitting you’re a Christian.
Why be afraid?
When Jesus was sent to earth to open a new and living way (Hebrews 10:20), the most compelling story of all time was written into history. As a human being, He overcame sin in His own body so that, for the first time ever, God’s will could be perfectly carried out in a person. There was only one chance for this mission to succeed: Jesus was tempted exactly like we are, and He never sinned.
It was this life of faithfulness that qualified Him to achieve the ultimate victory, and die for us on the cross at Calvary, where He paid for our sins with His own blood. Without achieving total success, there would be no hope for any person to have their sins forgiven. And yet, He succeeded completely, becoming an eternal Saviour for everyone who believes!
With such an incredible history, why is it so common to be ashamed of the gospel? Why be afraid of professing your faith in God to others, or be embarrassed of them even knowing about it, in a world where people feel free to proclaim beliefs of all kinds?
Peter was ashamed to admit he knew Jesus as He was taken to be crucified, but just weeks later he stood up in front of thousands and preached the gospel in the fullness of God’s Spirit. Why the change? What was the secret?
Quite simply, he experienced the power of the gospel.
The power of the gospel
As a Christian you rejoice over the forgiveness you received by Jesus’ blood—and with good reason; it is given free of charge, by grace, and without works! However, continuing in the life of discipleship is so much more than just that. Even if you have spent your whole life in Christian fellowships, it is not a matter of course that you have learned to walk in the Spirit.
Maybe you are like the stony ground in Jesus’ parable (Luke 8:4-15), in which the plants sprang up quickly (you received the word with joy), but they withered away in the heat, because they had no root (you cannot stand in the time of temptation). Many Christians fall into this category, because they don’t know about the power the Holy Spirit can give to live a life of victory. As a result, they have nothing with which to help others—they haven’t gained spiritual content in their lives.
From the day he received the Holy Spirit, the ‘other Helper’ Jesus had promised them, Peter was equipped to wage war against the sin he had inherited in his own nature. What he experienced compelled him to tell others about his Jesus, who had opened up a new and exciting way for him.
“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth.’” 1 Peter 2:21-22.
Freedom from sin – real happiness
Allow yourself to be convinced by God’s Word! He is prepared to give His Spirit to those who obey Him, meaning that becoming a disciple of Jesus requires complete devotion to the cause. Once you start experiencing freedom from sin, the question about whether or not God is real disappears as quickly as the shame of admitting you are a wholehearted Christian.
You are in possession of a powerful gospel that will allow you, by God’s help, to take control of your life. The life and confidence of a true disciple can’t be faked—it has substance. Instead of being led by your ever-changing feelings, reasoning, lusts and human desires, learn to be led by the Holy Spirit, and live well pleasing to God. You will experience real happiness, and you won’t be able to help sharing what you’ve received with others. How many of your friends wouldn’t want to be able to be part of that?