William Fay's 1999 spiritual text entitled Share Jesus Without Fear, is an emotional and poignant tale that encourages the followers of Jesus Christ into a harmonious practice of evangelical Christianity. Fay holds a unique position in the evangelical community and presents a self idealized person who can truly understand what it is to be a follower of Christ. This is best summarized when he wrote " but be aware: you are not responsible for causing a person's heart to turn toward God."[footnoteRef:2] This idea sets the tone for this manual of sorts that helps the reader assume a position of nonjudgmental awareness and truly accepting faith as the true motivator towards God's will. [2: Fay (1999). Share Jesus Without Fear, p.3.]
The book is an instructional work that is aimed at Christians who are eager to learn about one of the more interesting facets of the Christian religion; evangelism. Fay used his own personal experiences by describing his faithless past to help others realize that sin is not something that should be held against someone, rather it should be used to transmute the evil into a goodness.
Fay emphasizes the sovereignty of God and His Will, in the events that surround the practices of evangelical exercises. He described that what is most important in this process is that the simple act of sharing the knowledge of Christ is perhaps the only way one can avoid further sin. [footnoteRef:3]Sharing the teachings of Christ and their personal impact on a follower, is the duty of Christians. [3: Ibid, p.29.]
The author included several appendixes in this book as well to help the reader practically use the information contained in the chapters. Fay presented a set of "Share Jesus" questions that are intended to be used as rules of thumb for those wishing to put his teachings into practice. The book concludes with an emotional heartfelt testimony of the author to help cement some of his beliefs presented earlier in the text.
This reading triggered a memory of mine that has caused much guilt and angst. When I was a child I tortured and killed a young puppy that belonged to the neighbor. I had later confessed to this sin and believe I have learned much from this event. This book, however, has made me look at this event in a different way.
Although the nightmares I endured and the guilt that was ever present in me did not feel as though the Lord was flowing through me, he really was. This book made me understand that God's actions are purposeful and right, regardless of the temporary immorality that might be superficially presented.
I immediately felt Jesus' presence when reading the words " God is Sovereign." To me, I suddenly can understand what is was like for Jesus and his torturous 40 days preparing for his demise. Jesus did this for me so I could torture and kill a dog. To understand this is to accept Jesus for what he may be or not be. With Jesus died the sins of the world, mine included.
Many questions popped into my head during the reading of this book. Mostly I could not escape the thought of idea of sin and Christ's role in the elimination of sin. If Christ died for our sins, than why do we still recognize them? Is guilt valuable? Perhaps guilt is not valuable and creates and obstacle for knowing our own true self.
Fay's examples are useful but are presented in a very bloviated and insincere manner. This is not only Fay's problem, but the problem of the written word itself. I came to realize after praying on the concepts of this book, that words and other's experiences fall short of realizing what Christ truly is. Christ is much more than one man or a "sovereign" identity, rather I feel that Christ is the sum of all experience and prayer. Christ is truly everywhere and nowhere at the same time and evangelical practice is only one form of this atonement with our creator and savior Jesus Christ.
In many ways I'm torn as to how to employ the lessons learned from reading this book. No doubt, a new understanding of my faith has arisen from the exposure to Fay's ideas on how sin can be avoided and how there appears only one way. The things that we have always accepted as doctrine and have incorporated into our way of life as tradition may in fact mean something quite different then we have been led to believe. Matthew 13: 34." All these things spoke Jesus to the multitude in parables; and he did not speak without a parable."
An action plan of awareness must become the first step of any attempt to make any meaningful and profound changes in my life. Taking a new look at the Bible seems appropriate. Often times I have felt that my own interpretations of the scriptures were better suited for my faith than my pastor's or family member. I believe it is important to revisit some of these older ideas and examine their impact on my awareness today.
Acts 7:48 says "The most high dwells not in temples made with hands." This suggests that my pathway to salvation is an internal struggle, that despite any evangelical works or successes, if my own soul is not at peace, nothing is truly achieved. Here the Bible is saying that church buildings and temples have absolutely nothing to do with the dwelling place of God. Luke 17:21 gives me strength in this intention as it written "The Kingdom of God is within You."
2 Corinthians 3:15" But even unto this day when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart Nevertheless when they shall turn to the Lord the veil shall be taken away." The truth is hidden and the only way one may understand what is meant by the scriptures is by turning to the Lord. For me this means shutting down the human intellect by separating from thought in prayer, and turning on the intuitive side of the brain where the truth dwells. The only way to do that is in prayer and reflection.
I do believe the metaphor of a tree is useful in understanding this action, or rather inaction, plan. The Christmas Tree is used to signify the birth of Christ and tells us much about how, if we can become like the tree we may ultimately reach redemption and a pathway to our salvation. Trees grow from out of the earth from a seed, much like the human being. This idea of sprouting from within towards the outer environment is natural. Evangelical practice is the opposite. Too much reliance on what happens on the outside relegates this practice to only a minimal stature in my opinion. Spiritual growth and the attainment of Christ consciousness can only be attained through a subjective or internal interpretation.
Certain steps become obvious at this point in order to reestablish a balance and healthy relationship with faith and Jesus. It is necessary for me to become one with Jesus in order to fully understand what it means to be sovereign. Christ himself was no peacemaker. The turning of the tables in the temple proved that revolution and disdain are part of our spirit and soul. To eliminate this would to not become human. Christ is beyond human.
Mastering the art and science of prayer becomes a pivotal genesis in developing an inward sense of growth. This will require great patience and ultimately test my faith if this program is to have any real significance. Prayer time must be set aside daily, with no distractions and no exceptions. Though this may seem selfish, it is quite impossible to help those in need, if we ourselves are not in accordance with God's law. Christ was ready to bear his cross at certain time of his life, and did not force the issue. This is allowing God to do his work and let his presence be felt no matter what we may decide is right or wrong.
Too many times, a good Christian allows their spirituality to be contained within the context of church or certain company. A concentrated effort on my part to help change this idea will pay great dividends on my path towards Christ. Goodness does not need to be contrived or forced, it should flow in abundance and at all times. Life itself should become nothing but a continuous prayer where I am a reflection of God's will in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior.
Developing courage in the face of danger is the plight of any Christian soldier, and understanding this principle can aide me or any other wishing to fulfill themselves with the Holy Spirit. Judging others should not become a priority, and an empathetic outlook will serve me well. Jesus' sermon on the mount reminds me to understand that life is about ups and downs…