Kerry Coombs was a successful high school football coach for 18 years and a outstanding assistant coach in college for 11 years after that before taking a job in the NFL.
After two seasons with the Tennessee Titans, Coombs returned to Ohio State and said something interesting about the difference between coaching in high school and college, compared to coaching in the NFL:
“In high school and college, I’d pretty much say, ‘Go do that,’ and you know what? They’d go do that. In the NFL, when I’d say, ‘Go do that,’ they’d say, “Why?’ When you have to contemplate every drill and why, it makes you a much better coach.”
The Apostle Paul gives essentially the same reason in the book of Philemon for why it’s essential for Christians to share their faith in Christ with others.
He writes in Philemon 1:6:
“I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.”
Sharing your faith requires you to know what you’re talking about. And the best way to know what you’re talking about — to have that, “full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ,” to which Paul refers — is to devote yourself to reading the Bible, praying and growing your relationship with Christ.
Without Bible reading, you won’t know what God promises to do in your life. You won’t avail yourself of the guidance, direction, comfort, conviction, enlightenment, encouragement or inspiration that are in the Word.
Without prayer, you won’t give God the chance to communicate with you through the Holy Spirit inside of you. You won’t grow closer to Him. Think of it as growing a friendship. You can’t grow a friendship, or any relationship, without spending time and having deep, meaningful communication with the other person.
There are two other reasons Christians must take seriously the privilege of sharing their faith.
First, it’s what Jesus commanded us to do just before he ascended to heaven after his resurrection.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”Matthew 28:19-20
Second, as Christians we are to love others as Jesus loved us. This command is contained throughout scripture, either implied or in specific words. One instance is in 1 Corinthians 16:14, where Paul writes,
“…do everything in love.”
That doesn’t leave much wiggle room, does it?
Do everything in love means that to not share my faith — which is the most important thing in my life — would violate my obligation to others. How loving would it be if I told friends about a great movie or restaurant and didn’t tell them how to secure their eternal salvation?
So, that’s why any Christian living obediently to God’s call on their life will share their faith with others:
- to be fully aware of their own blessings
- to fulfill Jesus’ direct order, and
- to demonstrate genuine love toward others.