The Challenge

By Rebecca Olson

Berlin SDB Church, NY

Silence. It’s a tricky issue. As a Christian, I want to let God speak through me, but I also want to know when I should keep quiet. Which is appropriate in this situation? If I bring the Bible into this conversation, will it be encouraging or distancing? I want to show my faith in a positive light. What if talking pushes this person even farther away from God?

This is my train of thought so often when I see an opportunity to bring up my faith with a non-believer, and I’m sure that other people feel the same way. In so many cases, the line between pushy and silent is so hard to see that we err on the side of silence every time. We know that constant silence isn’t an option — that’s what this whole Sabbath Recorder is about. But I understand the concern most Christians have, especially when talking to non-believers, about God’s point of view on social issues.

Silence is often easily justified. “I am remaining silent in love,” we tell ourselves, and we guiltlessly let someone else proclaim God’s word. This can happen in our lives so often that we stop noticing. We stop finding opportunities to allow God to speak through us. That makes silence a really hard habit to break. Thinking about breaking a habit so ingrained might seem overwhelming, even impossible. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the thought of trying to break your silence, let me give you a challenge. I want to give you somewhere to start.

Deuteronomy 32:3 declares, “I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!” (NIV). Every good thing comes from God. He is working every day in your life. Every single thing that happens to you is part of His plan. He deserves our praise when things are going right and when things are going dreadfully wrong. As Christians, we know this. It is what we live for; God’s plan and goodness are what keeps us going no matter what.

If you know that all good things come from God, here is my challenge for you: start giving Him credit. It’s easy to see God’s hand in the big things — when a loved one is healed from a fatal disease or a check comes in the mail with the exact change to pay an overdue bill. It can be harder to recognize God’s work in the small things in your life. Start proclaiming God’s name for all the good things you are given. When you are blessed by a stranger’s smile, thank the Lord for that person. When you are running late and pull into the best spot in the parking lot, praise God for His goodness. The more you acknowledge God’s hand in your life internally, the more you will be able to acknowledge it verbally. Break your silence on God’s goodness.

The best way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. So make it habitual to give God verbal praise for the things going right in your life. Try making it a habit to give God verbal praise even when things aren’t going right. Through praise for your Father, start breaking your bad habit of silence. There is no excuse for remaining silent in love when it comes to God’s grace. It is never justifiable to remain silent on what God is doing for you. Give yourself no excuses to remain silent. Make small declarations of faith; begin to slip praise for your Father into daily conversation — name-drop the Lord, so to speak.

As it becomes a habit to bring up God in the little things, it will slowly become easier to bring Him up when silence is the easy option. For now, go forth and proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!

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