Fear is such a natural thing. Nobody has to tell us what to fear, and often no one can easily talk us out of what we already fear. Many folks even spend lots of time going to professionals and even trying to find medication that can help them deal with their fears and, at the least, get them out of the way of what they want to do every day. Fear can be a difficult and torturous thing. We also live in a world that seems bent on telling us what to fear!!!
As if there weren’t already all of these “scary” things around us every day, those of us who serve God have been given a job that the rest of the world is literally fighting to avoid – we are supposed to tell people the TRUTH! Wow. This world does not love the truth. Not even about simple things that we run into every single day. And, we as the “redeemed” people of God are supposed to tell them about the greatest truths that exist, that God has ordered the world and provided Christ’s blood as a means of salvation to all who will follow Him.
While this truth is so real and important to us, it is easy to start to believe that it is too much for anyone that we know to accept! It is easy to go through the day and look at people and just decide, “They would never listen to this. I think I won’t even try.” We just stop attempting to talk about it, unless we already know the person is mostly going to agree with us. And, when we find the thing they disagree with, we just never mention it again. We seek ways to make ourselves feel encouraged and satisfied that we have talked about our spirituality, without going so far that we offend or push someone (or ourselves) into an uncomfortable place.
We seek perfect comfort, easy friendship, and we often go to church to build ourselves up so that we can survive another week in an “unfriendly” world. We hold strongly, if ever so quietly, to what we believe. We love the way we feel when we are at church in a “friendly” space that encourages us to talk about our faith and praise our Lord. We go and really enjoy it, as long as the focus is not placed on us.
We are kind, inoffensive, sweet people who have a faith that we would be happy to talk about if you ask just the right questions and don’t challenge us too hard about what we believe and why. We have the truth, and are ready to share it, as long as all of the conditions are right. Which, they almost never are.
“Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war… (edit) we will share the truth with you, if you will like us more!” But, if you won’t, then we will just stealthily go to worship and keep to ourselves. That old song seems to have a very different motif when it comes to our work and responsibility as God’s people than we often see today. It is a battle cry!
I really do believe that we want to have everything. We want to share the truth, the right way, with the right words and phrases. We want to do it well. We just want to share it with an audience that is primed and ready. We want them to ask great questions that lead us through the information naturally as they readily listen. They should want to hear it and then respond by being encouraging and positive as we share it. They should be eager, have no preconceived ideas that we have to teach them out of, and believe what we share is authorized by God’s word. They should just accept it willingly and openly.
As anyone can tell you that has taught many people the Gospel, it just hardly even happens that way! I can’t really think of an instance. There is always some pet idea, some doctrine or notion that they have in their head that is tough to handle. They often fight God’s control over their life, and they will many times wander for a while before they come back willing to listen. It takes time and effort to bring people to Christ, and this work is not for the weak! It is “spiritual warfare” and we are fighting to wrestle the souls of mankind from an enemy that is holding onto them and does not like to lose!
Most often however, we will work with and spend time with someone for years, and never even have the conversation with them about our faith! We might invite them to church or to a potluck meal, but I am talking about telling them why we believe and what we believe! I have had parents tell me, “Well, we have just never had that talk with our kids, but we should!” Yes, you should! “I know my friend believes something, but I just don’t know what.” Well, ask them! “I tried to bring it up, but they changed the subject and so we talked about football (or fishing, or scrapbooking).” Of course they did! They did not want to have to deal with this important and difficult subject that was going to ask them to change their life. They know. They might not know all of the particulars, but they know it involves work and change, and they are avoiding it.
2 Corinthians 5:19-20 – “And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
God has put us in their life. We are His “ambassadors”. We must do more than just wait for it to come up – we must make an appeal! We IMPLORE people to be obedient to God. We know the cost has been paid, and wish for them to open their free gift!
God wants us to keep the baptismal waters stirred and the hearts of men and women full of life.
The need is great. We are the workers. The fear you feel is not from God.
The enemy is at work, and so we better be as well!
Let’s work on it together!