Have you ever had that opportunity, that moment to boast about the Lord but you crumbled and were crippled by the fear of what others might think or say?
That was basically me.
For a while, whenever I felt a tugging from the Holy Spirit to tell a stranger about God I just never did it. I love God, I worship and pray to Him, I share His word with other Christians, but found it hard to boldly share the gospel with non-believers and those who are unsure of their faith. But then the question remains… is it possible to be an effective Christian having this timid frame of mind?
Timidity not only cripples an individual’s own faith but also cripples that of others. Let’s take an extreme example; imagine you were at a bus stop and the person sitting next to you was planning to commit suicide when they got home and all they needed was that one word that God had laid on your heart to change their mind. Imagine you allowed fear to stop you from sharing this with them; then what?
As Christians we must understand that the Word of God is not to be played with. We can’t keep falling on our faces asking the Lord to use us, yet where He wants to lead us we then tell Him we can’t go, due to the fear of people’s reactions.
The Bible says: “This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9 NLT
This verse is so beautiful because it’s saying that you do not have to do it alone! The Lord will be with you. The Holy Spirit will speak on your behalf! Think of Moses! How fearful was Moses when God told Him to go before Pharaoh. Can you imagine facing someone of such high status?! Honestly my worst nightmare. But the beauty of that story is that God equipped Moses from the beginning.
It was no accident that Moses became a part of that family despite being an Israelite; this gave him the power and opportunity to come before pharaoh, as not just anyone could have presented themselves to Pharaoh in such a manner. Despite this Moses was still scared: “But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.”
Exodus 3:11-12 NLT
The Lord told Moses, “I will be with you!” How beautiful and soothing is that to the soul. Therefore, there really isn’t anything to be afraid of. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
This scripture makes it clear that fear is simply a lie from the enemy and not something that a child of God should possess. It’s the enemy that tells you they’d laugh at you/reject you/insult you. Ignore those lies and stand tall in the confidence you have through Christ! God would never put you in a situation that you – through Him – can’t handle. Hence, speak with boldness, knowing that when God gives you a word to share He will also help you to deliver it.
A Public Declaration
“…when God gives you a Word to share He will also help you to deliver it”, but do you actually deliver the message?
If you really love someone, I mean really love someone, would you not be bold enough to declare it openly? To let the world know! Even still, imagine you’ve just bought a new luxury item, take a car for instance, would you rather keep it locked up in a garage or take it for a spin? If you’re anything like me you’d opt for the latter. However, if we act like this towards our loved ones and possessions, we should be so much more enthusiastic to tell of the goodness of God, which far outweighs anything we could imagine.
Yet, think about it, so often we treat God with much less honour and respect than our family, friends and possessions. Why?
The best example has to be Peter, oh how He loved Jesus – well enough to leave everything he had to follow Him (Luke 22:54-62). He saw Jesus walk on water and perform countless miracles but when the time mattered most, he denied His friend. Peter in fact was amongst the accusers when Jesus was being crucified – he followed behind Jesus instead of walking with Him. A lot of us can be like Peter, in the face of adversity we crumble under pressure. However, we cannot claim to love Jesus or to be ‘an ambassador for Christ!’ if we are too ashamed to even utter His name in public. The bible clearly states that: “So everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies Me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 10:32-33 ESV
If we deny Jesus when He is calling us to be bold and courageous in proclaiming His word, in the same way will He deny us before the Father.
Now, is it really worth it?
Don’t take the easy way out like I did. Do not be ashamed of who you are in Christ, be faithful to Him and He will surely be faithful to you.
Knowing the Word
You may now be bold and declaring your love for God to everyone, but after all of that, do you know the Word. Would you trust your teacher if you asked them questions about their subject of expertise and they had no idea how to respond? Probably not. Therefore, as we are called to be witnesses and ambassadors of Christ, we must represent everything that He is. In order to do this, we must study the Word of God diligently. To know the Word is to know the Lord (John 1:1).
“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”
Joshua 1:8 NLT
It’s not enough just to scan through the bible to say that you’ve read it, you must digest the Word in context and most importantly put it into action, making it part of your daily life.
Reading the bible should be as natural as eating food or better still breathing.
“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”
Hebrews 4:12 NLT
The word of God is powerful, powerful enough to completely transform lives, to heal the sick and mend the broken. Therefore, it can calm our fears, encourage us to be bold and equip us with what to say and how to say it. Sharing the Gospel with people then becomes a much less daunting opportunity, because the Bible tells you that the Lord will be by your side. We can then always be prepared for when our fellow brethren need to hear the Word!
“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT