Salt & Light"It does not matter how old or young we may be. God is willing to use us as an instrument of His glory to our world."
Why Is It Important To Live Out My Faith? Why Does That Matter?
Our world doesn’t need more information, because more information won’t change us, those around us or even the circumstances we find ourselves facing; what we need and those around us need is a personal encounter of Jesus. Below are stories and experiences that I hope will both encourage you and inspire you to live out your faith in our world with courage and determination.
My wife, Cheryl, and I moved into a predominantly Muslim community, Auburn, in western Sydney (Australia) with our young family. Auburn was one of the poorest communities in the state with an alarmingly high crime rate. Many of our colleagues and friends were aware of the challenges in this community and strongly advised us to send our children to a private Christian school in another city. They explained it would be safer and our children would get a higher standard of education. That is exactly what we did, until we felt the spirit of God challenging us that this was not what He had placed for our family. Instead, we felt God had called us to serve Him in Auburn and that we needed to trust Him and put our faith in Him. So, we enrolled both our sons in the local public school.
Our oldest son, Josh, clearly loved Jesus and wanted to share His love with everyone that he met. In fact, when he was three years of age, he led our neighbor’s 10-year-old daughter, Skye, to Jesus, simply saying to her, “I cannot read yet, can you read my Bible for me?” Skye would read Josh’s Bible and then she would come over and ask me questions about God and faith. Skye became a Christian and would attend church with us every Sunday. When we moved out of the neighborhood, she continued attending church and eventually led her parents to the Lord.
Sharing faith in a Muslim community was not just tricky at times—it was dangerous. At 6 years old, Josh decided that he was going to ask his new friend Abdul whether or not he wanted to become friends with his best friend. Abdul, like any 6-year-old boy, said, “Sure, I’d love to meet your friend and become friends with him.” Josh exclaimed, “Awesome! My best friend is Jesus, and He would love to be friends with you, Abdul. All you gotta do is ask Him to come and live in your heart.”
You can imagine how I initially reacted to getting a call from Abdul’s father, Mohammed, asking if he could come and meet with me. I thought, this cannot be good.
My initial reaction was, “Oh my goodness, we are now going to be in a battle with this family.”
When Mohammed arrived at our house and sat down in our lounge room, we began to speak. It became very evident that Mohammed‘s father was overwhelmed by the friendship between Josh and his son. Mohammed explained that Josh and Abdul becoming friends was making such a significant difference in Abdul’s life. Abdul had been suspended from school multiple times; he was challenging the authority of teachers and in constant trouble at home as well. By simply being his friend and sharing his faith, Josh was making an enormous difference in Abdul’s life. Mohamed shared with me, that if Jesus through Josh, could make such a significant difference in Abdul‘s life, then he was more than happy for his son to continue this friendship and if Jesus could give his son direction and a future, he was open.
As I listened and heard this father share about his openness and willingness to experience an encounter with Jesus, through the experience and life-changing behavior of his son, my reluctance for sharing my faith was being challenged. God’s sovereign plan for all people is to bring hope, peace, mercy and allow His children to experience His unlimited grace.
If we are truly honest, most people would rather not share their faith and to maintain an anonymity with their friends and neighbors. But God is calling us to let our light shine and to be salt and light in this world.
It was about five years ago that my family and I arrived in Orange County when we witnessed an alarming number of homeless people across the county, particularly alongside the riverbed around Angel Stadium. Recognizing that the problem was significant and that collaboration was the only way forward to addressing such an enormous problem, we started seeking partnership with various city and county leaders who would be willing to collaborate and address this humanitarian crisis.
I called the city of Anaheim and requested a meeting with Mayor Tom Tait, who was, at that time, the mayor of the largest city in Orange County. Here I was, an unknown from Australia, requesting a meeting with the mayor, who was incredibly busy and possibly viewed my request as an additional burden on a very heavy schedule.
The mayor’s office very kindly responded and offered me a 30-minute meeting with the mayor, explaining to me that the mayor had back-to-back meetings and had limited time available. I prayed, “God, speak through me as I speak to this man about all that is happening in the city and our need to work together to address this crisis.”
The 30-minute meeting, shortened to five minutes due to time, became an hour-and-a-half discussion on the crisis around Angel Stadium and other parts of the city. By now, we didn’t just have the mayor in the room, but his entire executive staff had been summoned to join this conversation. God was granting us favor that was beyond our comprehension. The spirit of God began to speak to me that I needed to pray for the mayor, so I asked the mayor if I could pray for him. He looked at me, surprised by my request, and said, “Sure.” We all stood and prayed together in the mayor’s office, but God gave me a specific word to speak over the mayor, about his family and as we prayed together, as tears were rolling down his face, he encountered Jesus and the power of His grace and love. The mayor cried, “I needed to hear God speak to me today …”
People all around us are carrying the pain and anguish of brokenness and despair. They need you and me to share truth in love.
We have the answer to the world’s suffering and pain. God has a plan and a purpose for every person. All are created in God’s image, and His word tells us that whoever chooses to follow Him is welcome to spend eternity with Him in heaven. God’s Word tells us that He is always with us in every season and circumstance and that we, His children, have a responsibility to share our experience of Him so that others can hear the good news.
Friends, it does not matter how old or young we may be. God is willing to use us as an instrument of His glory to our world. Remember, God qualifies the unqualified and equips the unequipped, so that His glory can be seen.
For Further Reflection
Faith is essential to the Christian life. Our salvation is by grace through faith. We are to walk in faith daily. We find through the Word of God instances where faith is rewarded:
- There is the faith of those four men who brought the man to Jesus who was sick with palsy.
- There is the faith of Jairus whose daughter Jesus brought back from the dead.
- There is the faith of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’s garment.
- There is the faith of the lepers who were cleansed.
- There is the faith of the sick who were healed.
- There is the faith of those disciples who followed Jesus.
- Aggressive Christianity by Catherine Booth
- Evidence That Demands A Verdict: Life-Changing Truth For A Skeptical World by Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell
- No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green by Melody Green and David Hazard
- Joshua by Joseph F. Girzone
Major Nesan currently serves as Salvation Army officer (pastor) in Orange County. He immigrated from South Africa at the age of eight with his parents. He graduated from the University of Wollongong with an honour’s degree in political science and psychology. He later gained a master’s degree in theology.