[Many of you haven’t followed this blog long, so from time to time I recycle posts from previous years… here is one such post. Enjoy!!]
Okay… I’m sitting here in Starbucks… and in walks this couple. Now, they’re not you’re ordinary, everyday-looking couple… at least, not here in College Park, MD. The guy was tall (maybe 6’3″ or so), brown-skinned, had on a couple of layers of what looked like some kinds of sheets or robes, that came down a little past his knees… white socks and some sort of slippers. It didn’t appear that he was wearing pants, because you could see his bare shins (remember the sheets were a little past the knee). I think he was bald, and he had on a little skull cap of sorts… and he had a really, really long beard. The lady he was with was wearing sheets/robes, too, except they were all black… and covered her from head to toe. You could only see her eyes.
You guessed it… they’re devout, orthodox Muslims. They came in, holding hands, not caring about the many eyes that left computer screens and followed them through the cafe section to the coffee line. Without seemingly a care in the world, they blatantly made a very clear visual statement as to who they follow. And the thought ran through my mind: “Why is it so difficult, as a Christian, to be so bold?” The thought has plagued me many, many times… and the answer always comes back the same: “Fear.” Fear of rejection, fear of ridicule, fear of isolation… whatever. But that’s the issue. The greatest message in the entire world that can liberate and transform any culture, and I’m often afraid to open my mouth. Funny how we can “believe” so strongly in some things, and call or email everyone we know and try to influence their thinking to “buy into” this thing we believe. Whether it’s the Dallas Cowboys, or Calvinism, or politics, we all get excited about different things. But when it comes to sharing the life-changing message of Jesus Christ, we often keep our mouths as closed as a Chik-Fil-A on Sundays.
I often thought that – if I were really excited about Jesus – then the fear would leave, and I could be another Billy Graham or Luis Palau or Tom Skinner. But God never promised us the absence of fear… He’s promised us His presence. And assured of His presence, we can move forward in the midst of fear, knowing that He’ll never leave us… He’ll never abandon us… He’ll always be with us to give us His power and His presence. That’s why the believers in Acts 4 prayed for boldness – because it doesn’t come naturally for most of us.
So, if you’re waiting for God to remove the fear before you begin to tell others about Him, stop waiting… and start asking Him to give you boldness to do what He’s called every Christ-follower to do – be a witness for His Son to those who are far from Him.
“‘Now Lord, consider their threats and enable Your servants to speak Your word with boldness…’ After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:29, 31).