I just started studying medicine at university. (According to my friends being a medical student will make me more attractive to girls. I just got my stethoscope so we shall see if it has an extra benefit of being a chick magnet…). As part of the whole uni thing I’ve moved into halls of residence. In my particular hall it is just a random assortment of people put together by whatever incomprehensible logic my university uses when doing its room allocations. Which has resulted in my being in a floor where to the best of my knowledge I am the only Christian out of 11 people.
We have a kitchen/common room area with a notice board, and during the first week one of the guys who supports Crystal Palace pinned a Palace scarf up to the common room wall. This was fair enough – nothing wrong with him showing his support for his (pretty poor) team. But then the next week another guy had put up a Liverpool scarf. Now this was a whole different story, because I’m a Man Utd fan, and Liverpool are one of our biggest rivals. I couldn’t let their scarf go up unopposed in the common room. So at the start of this week I brought down a United scarf and pinned it too.
And it all got me thinking. I had no problems putting up a visible symbol of the football team I support in the common room – I’m not ashamed to publicly declare I support (in my opinion) the best team in the Premier league. But would I be so comfortable publically declaring my faith? Sure when it comes up in conversation with my floor mates I’ll mention it. But would I go as far as to pin a declaration of my faith to that common room wall beside my Man Utd scarf? Would you?
Here’s the thing. In Mark 8:38 Jesus says: “If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Pretty challenging when you think of all the times over the past week when you have had the chance to speak out about your faith but fear of what people will think of you has kept you quiet. The times you have skimmed over church when asked by friends what you did at the weekend. The times you haven’t spoken up when God’s name is used in vain. Pretty challenging when you think of all the times you’ve know that you should be spending some time doing something to show Jesus’ love to the world but have decided that the latest episode of some trashy American TV show is more important. Pretty challenging when you think of the times we as Christians take the easy road and blend in with society instead of the narrow path of standing out for Christ.
So here’s the challenge. This week, in whatever ways you can, show you aren’t ashamed of Jesus. It could be updating your facebook/twitter status with a few Bible verses. It could be pining up some Bible verses in your room at home/uni (you can get fancy posters at Christian bookshops, or if you are arty do it yourself). It could be talking about what happened at church when people ask you what you did at the weekend. It could be mentioning the Bible when asked what you are reading at the moment. You probably will be able to think of many other ways to show you aren’t ashamed. So this week go for. Take the difficult option, and show your allegiance to Christ to the world. We don’t hide what football team we support, so why should we hide our support for the Saviour of the world?