Reach • Devotional #4: “Boldness”

It is human nature to avoid opposition. As a species, we do not enjoy the process of feeling uncomfortable. We do not like to have disagreements. We do not want to feel separated from others. We do not want to seem offensive to others because of our lack of conformity. The issue with this nature is that, as followers of Christ, we have been given a mission that inherently incites opposition in a secular world. Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

As Christians, we have been commanded to reach the world with the Gospel. This is a daunting task and it scares many people. Preaching the Gospel forces us to have conflict in our lives. We are required to challenge people on their understanding of the universe. We are required to convict people that are living in sin. It is uncomfortable and scary to talk to strangers about some mystical entity in the sky that died on a cross for them. Certainly, even the best evangelizers in existence have struggled with this basic human nature and the desire all humans have to avoid the opposition caused by the Gospel.

However, we have been commanded to spread the Good News. This command and the desire to fulfill it, while wanting to somehow avoid conflict and opposition, has led some followers to mitigate or water down the Gospel message. The thought process is, “If I can deliver the message in an inoffensive way to sinners, if I can make the Gospel more acceptable and more accessible, maybe I can preach the Gospel without ruffling any feathers.” In doing so, we dilute and distort the commandments of our Creator. If this sounds like you, I want to challenge you to be bold in your faith. Be bold in the Gospel message because nothing is more important.

In 1 Thessalonians 2:2, we read, “But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict.” Paul is declaring that his faith in God gives him the boldness and tenacity he needs to reach a wretched world with the only thing that can save it, even in the midst of adversity and oppression.

When giving directions, you would be doing someone a disservice to not warn them if their route had a rocky cliff face to watch out for. So why then are we comfortable with the disservice of downplaying the necessity for a Savior? I challenge you to live your life in boldness today and have faith in God to guide you through opposition and conflict when telling people the best news in existence.

As I wrap up today, I want to leave you with a true story. My parents live down the street from a couple, we will call them the Smiths, that for my entire childhood could not have been less neighborly to my family. From curse words to slander, this couple was the bane of my existence and the root of much frustration in my early life. We did not get along and I had no intentions of ever changing that. They had thrown the first stone and I was content to make no effort to extend an olive branch. Years later, it was discovered that my mother had a serious brain tumor. During the process of busy hospital visits and sleepless nights, I was home alone one day when I heard a knock on my door. Mr. Smith was at my doorway. I hesitantly opened the door expecting the worst. He proceeded to hand me stacks of jars filled with jams and jellies and canned goods. He had heard about my mother’s predicament and had come as a neighbor with gifts. He then told me that ever since Mrs. Smith had been diagnosed with cancer, they had started trying new things such as making the various canned goods he was now blessing our family with. During this conversation, I felt the Holy Spirit whisper in my heart that I needed to go and pray with Mrs. Smith. I was being called to talk with her and ensure that her soul would spend all of eternity in Heaven. I let my bitterness, rage, and frustration take hold and I ignored the whisper of the Holy Spirit. I put it off for months. It was in the back of my mind but I kept ignoring it. Then one day, while I ate breakfast, I saw a hearse drive by and go to the Smith household. I had let my sinful emotions stamp out any boldness in me and as a result, I never got to share the Gospel with Mrs. Smith one last time.

It is my sincere hope that a seed had been planted by someone else and I hope she is in Heaven, but my lack of boldness was made evident at that moment. I remember Mrs. Smith and every time I see an opportunity to talk about Jesus but do not want to because of the fear of opposition. Please remember what really matters in this world and please have a spirit of boldness.

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