Faith is public not just a private affair (Psalm 40)

keep-calm-and-live-out-loudI was challenged by a friend of mine on Facebook today to take time to read Psalm 40. Boy am I glad that I did. I would like to share some of the truths that I gleaned from Psalm 40 in this article.

A few years ago, while serving on the foreign mission field, I ran into people who had this strange mentality, suggesting that faith and our relationship with God was something that we keep in our hearts. In other words, faith is private and not a public matter. King David had a very different opinion. He boldly proclaimed his faith and relationship with God to anyone who wanted to listen. In the famous “Sermon on the Mount”, Jesus proclaimed that His followers are to be salt and light. Both salt and light have visible effects on the world around them. In other words, Jesus and David both teach the same principle, that faith is to be very public, that we should be ready to share about our relationship with God with anyone who will listen.

I. The Proclamation

King David was motivated to proclaim the goodness of God, not based on what he had read in a book, instead, he proclaimed what he had experienced from having a personal relationship with God. King David had cried out to the Lord and God heard him. God responded. God reached down to David and picked him up from the pit of his sin and placed him on solid ground. God offered stability to David and King David was very grateful for God’s mercy and grace. He wanted others to know about this awesome God who can do so much for those who will simply cry out to Him out of their desperation. We live in an age where spiritual leaders come up with all kinds of tricks and quirks to get church members to “share their faith”. I believe that many people do not “share their faith” because they have never really experienced God the way that David talks about in Psalm 40. David is driven to share his faith, not by guilt, but by gratitude toward God for what He had done. King David testifies to others so that they can see Him for who He is, so that they can learn to respect Him as they should. He deserves respect but many people do not give Him the respect that He deserves because they do not know who He is and what He has done. Seeing Him for who He is and giving Him the respect that He deserves leads a person to trust Him. In verses 9-10, King David reveals what he shared with people when he shared his faith with others. David did not hide his faith in his heart. He shared with everyone that God is faithful to offer salvation to those who are in need. Salvation means to rescue. All of us, like King David, are born in the pit of sin. We need to be rescued. When we hear the message of the Gospel, it compels us to cry out to God for help. God does all that He does based on His lovingkindness. Lovingkindness means “to be useful”. Out of love, God becomes useful to us by offering rescue from our sin nature. King David also shares the truth about who God is, that He is compassionate, offering protection to those who cry out to Him and reach out to His loving arm of rescue. On the other hand, King David was not just limited to his experiences with God. He also learned a lot about God through His Word. David was a great student of the Bible. As the king of Israel, He would have written his own copy of the first 5 books of the Old Testament. He was supposed to read from those books every single day and govern the people based on the teachings of the Bible. In verse 8, David reveals that he does the will of God (shares his faith with others) because the Word of God is hidden in His heart. If you want people to share their faith, you need to get them into the Word of God and get the Word of God into their minds. This will compel them to share what they are learning with others. That is the model that we see in Acts 2. The people studied the Word daily and as a result, they shared what they were learning with others. Those who heard wanted to know more and so they came to study too. Through the process, the people ended up placing their faith in Christ and the text let’s us know that God was adding to the numbers of people being saved daily. This same process is laid out for us in Psalm 40, almost 1,000 years before the events of Acts 2 took place.

What are the benefits of sharing your faith based on your experiences with God and the Truth of the Scriptures?

II. The benefits/blessings

The biggest blessing that comes out of crying out to God and sharing your faith with others is the fact that you get to experience God in a fresh way daily. You get rescued from your sin nature. You get placed on stable ground and learn to walk with God. Another benefit is that you get to see God interact with others and change their lives. In verses 4-5, the person who walks with God and shares his faith with others gets to experience contentment in this life. Blessed, in the Biblical meaning, is to be content no matter what the circumstances of life are. There are so many people in the world who think that circumstances and “things” will make them happy. King David reveals that the secret to being content is to walk with God and share your experiences (faith) with others. There is no greater “high” in this world than sharing your faith with someone who does not know God. Every time I share, my immediate thought is, “why don’t I do this more often?” If you have ever shared your faith, you know exactly what I mean. Another benefit is that, as you experience God’s work in your life and in the lives of others, your trust/faith in Him increases (strengthens). As you can see, the benefits are many, but, there are more benefits. When walking with God and sharing your faith, the immediate sin that wants to rear its ugly head is “pride”. The person walking with the Lord and sharing his faith is able to say no to pride and yes to humility because he knows that it is the Lord who is working in the lives of others just like He is working in his or her life. The second sin that can rear its ugly head is the sin of lying. David did not have to embellish his stories about God because, when you genuinely walk with God, you see God do amazing things. When you simply want to tell others about God because you have been told that you “should” then your testimonies may need a little “work”.

In verses 13-17, David makes some requests of God and through these requests, we gain more insight on the benefits and blessings that we have when we have a personal relationship with God and share our faith with others based on our experience with God and what we learn from His Holy Word. Earlier, we learned that when we walk with God, we are content in life. In this section, we discover that God is pleased with us when we walk with Him and share His goodness with others. God initially rescues us from our sin nature and, He continues to deliver us from sin and bad choices. God is always ready and willing to help us if we simply cry out to Him. When we live this truth and share this information with others, we get the privilege of watching God work in the lives of others, helping them in their times of need. The power of God is revealed and manifested in your life and you get to see that same power revealed to others and manifested in their lives. At the end of the day, all of the glory goes to God and we get the privilege of contributing to something that brings Him glory. This is why we were all created in the first place, to be the glory of God and we do this when we give glory to Him.

What about you, my dear friend, have you experienced God’s lovingkindness? What about God’s mercy and grace, have you had the privilege of knowing and experiencing them? Do you live our your faith publicly, sharing your experiences with God and the Truths of the Word of God with others? Do you share out of guilt or because you feel compelled based on His mercy and grace toward you? Have you ever had the privilege of being a part of God’s work in the life of another person? Are you getting into God’s Word and getting God’s Word into you so that the will of God comes naturally to you? May the Lord help us bring Him glory moment by moment, day by day so that we all fulfill our ultimate purpose while on this earth!

 

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