I struggle at times with sharing publicly my beliefs. Sure I write this blog, but it’s easy to hide behind this computer screen and not have to face anyone directly. I’ve spoken in front of groups and classes at our church, but despite my discomfort speaking in front of crowds, that wasn’t even that bad because I was surrounded by fellow believers. No it’s those times when I’m out in the world, with friends, family or strangers that I may not know where they stand with God or some I know outright that they are living without an active relationship with God. Those are the situations where I often falter and live in timidity. I fear what others will think. I fear that perhaps they will have a question I can’t answer. Or they will make an objection I can’t refute. I back off at those times when I should be the boldest of all and share my beliefs. Those are the doors that God has opened to talk and share and perhaps plant that seed that may grow into true faith down the road.
In 2 Timothy 1:7 we read:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
When we accept Christ as our savior, God sends the Holy Spirit to live within us. We have the very God of the universe living inside of us. That spirit is not one of fear or shyness. It is not one that is in us just to make us comfortable and content in our lives. No, it is a spirit that allows us to boldly live the lives that God has laid out for us and endure the hardships, the distress, the uncomfortableness that is inevitable. He allows us to face our fears and our doubts. He allows us to boldly come before God with our prayers and when we don’t know what or how to pray, He does so for us. Because of that, we can live our lives in power and love and self-discipline.
I like this quote from Tertullian, and early Christian author:
The Lord challenges us to suffer persecutions and to confess him. He wants those who belong to him to be brave and fearless. He himself shows how weakness of the flesh is overcome by courage of the spirit. This is the testimony of the apostles and in particular of the representative, administrating Spirit. A Christian is fearless.
A Christian is fearless. Oh if we could all live like that, if we could live without fear and boldly proclaim the joy and the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. We will face hardships, we will face challenges, some may face even death because of our faith in Christ. We are given the power to face all these and live boldly and fearlessly. With the fear of God, you need fear nothing else.
Now I know it’s difficult to change overnight. Some may have a dramatic transformation once they decide to live boldly, others if you’re like me, will still struggle and this will be a work in progress. But know that God is right there with you, so you can endure through any shyness or fear. And as with just about anything else, once you face your fears and realize that God has helped you through, the fear is lessened each time. Before long, it’s gone completely.
For my friends, family, coworkers, and other acquaintances out there reading this. No, I won’t come with Bible in hand and beat you until you believe. If you ask, I will share. When you see me live my life, despite still being a sinner and with many struggles in my life, I hope you’ll see someone with hope and joy and I’ll be happy to share where my joy comes from.