Read His Words Before Ours!
“Boldness.” The sound of my own voice startled me and I jumped slightly. My answer surprised me even more. “I want to become more bold in my faith.” Our leader continued around the table to the next person as I wondered silently at my response. The seven of us were meeting for the first time to discuss the formation of discipleship groups and to learn more about each other. Our leader had asked each of us to share what we hoped to gain over the course of our year together.
More bold? Where on earth did that come from? I thought. I’m plenty bold. I talk to people about God all the time. I sing on the worship team, for crying out loud. I mean, I guess I can be quiet sometimes, but I’m pretty extroverted as a rule. What a weird thing for me to say. My attention returned to the other women seated around the table. The Sunday School classroom was cold, and I pulled my sweater tightly around my shoulders as I listened to each response. My own answer faded from my thoughts as our leader resumed speaking and I didn’t think of it again until I left the church building and walked to my car.
As I put my key into the ignition, I felt a gentle nudge in my spirit. Are you bold? I paused. Is it bold to tell someone at church that you will pray for them? I pushed the key in further. Is it bold to talk about what I am doing in your life on Sunday mornings… with people who know Me already? I turned the heater on and clasped my hands together.
The Spirit of God was right.
My “boldness” had been limited to others within my “Sanitized Sunday Circle”.
I had no problem sharing Him and talking about Him if those individuals attended my church or if I knew of their faith.
I felt my cheeks begin to burn as I recognized my sinful arrogance.
We can all recall times when we have taken the more comfortable path.
Perhaps we told a suffering neighbor that we would keep them in our prayers…
and swallowed the urge to pray for them on the spot.
Perhaps we kept silent when a coworker mentioned that their plans fell through for Sunday morning…
and quelled the invitation that nearly reached our lips.
Perhaps we explained a miraculous physical healing to an unbelieving friend as luck…
when God’s power was unquestionably the reason for our recovery.
Let’s face it; sharing Jesus in an unbelieving world is majorly intimidating sometimes.
So what can we do about it?
How can we begin sharing Jesus in the real world on a daily basis?
First, we can’t miss the fact that we need Jesus as much as those who are lost.
That acknowledgement looks like making sure that time alone with God is a top priority. No excuses, just deciding to make it happen. As we spend quality time in His presence, our hearts begin to mimic His and our actions will follow suit. When we set aside space to grow our relationship with Him, our reality begins to reflect His reality, which spills over onto others…in amazing, authentic ways.
As we work on developing our relationship with Him, we must also be intentional about interacting with unbelievers. For some, it might be normal to go through an entire week without interacting with one other person that does not know Jesus. Some of us may face physical limitations. Some of us are in a stage that requires us to be home a lot more than others. Some of us are in the workforce and interact with far more unbelievers than believers. Whatever our situation, we need to connect with others in real ways and decidedly purpose to share Jesus through our compassion, humility, truthfulness and forgiveness. Our behavior and choices are a direct reflection of the One we follow. Are our thoughts and treatment of others reflecting the King of our heart? Or do we have some heart work to do?
Next, we can humbly ask Him to give us His heart and His eyes. Ask Him to show us who He wants us to lovingly engage on His behalf and create space to listen for His response. Sometimes He would have us reach out to the person we would least expect, but we miss the mark because we are busy reaching out to the person we think needs Him more. We must trust that He knows what He is doing and relinquish our grip of control… no matter how uncomfortable that may make us.
Father, we love You. Forgive us for the times we have ignored Your direction and have chosen comfort over Christ. Embolden us to share You in real and practical ways as we encounter a dark and desperate world. Help us practice being available for You and show us who You would have us love on today.
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