Something I’ve struggled with time and again in life is being bold. Have you? It’s an easy struggle to encounter, especially in a world where lately it seems Christians are viewed in such a poor light by so many. I didn’t realize this was an issue until middle school, because being a pastor’s kid, it seemed like nearly everyone we knew was a Christian. Once I approached my teenage years and had my own group of friends, it seemed I was part of a very small number of people who believed in God and attended church. I remember wanting so badly to make friends and hiding my zeal and love for the Lord a little bit more and a little bit more. I remember vividly when they would find out my father was a pastor they would act differently around me. They tried not to swear, they watched what they said. I should have been encouraging them gently and in love that we should not do those things anyway, but instead I felt embarrassed. I was worried they wouldn’t like me. We sang in children’s church, “This little Light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine...” and I remember that song coming to mind and convicting me so often. Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” You know who suffered the most for my choice of an ashamed heart, for my desire for the praise of men? It wasn’t me, although the Holy Spirit did convict me and correct me on this matter. No, it was my friends. I held within my heart the power of salvation. I had the Good News. And I didn’t love them enough to share it with them.
Now, in the age of social media, we are thrust into a world where people prioritize the number of followers we have. Everything we say and show has to be filtered to gain the likes. It is so easy to forget that WE don’t need followers, we are called to be followers of Christ. “Follow me” was what He said to the disciples and I believe that word choice had a generational significance to an all-knowing God. John 12 illustrates for us a group of people who had similar issues, “Yet at the same time, many even among the leaders believed in Him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human praise more than praise from God.” (John 12:42-43)
Jesus spoke on this multiple times as well. John 12:25 says, “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Dear friends, let your Light shine! Love your friends and family enough to tell them the Good News. Don’t get discouraged when you are rejected, disagreed with, shut down, or ignored. We always need to be planting seeds. Always. Only occasionally will we also have the privilege of watching them grow. A seed is never planted in vain. In Jesus’ comparison of the vineyard, we were never the vinedresser, it was God the Father. We can produce fruit (which has seeds inside) but we do not make it grow. (John 15:1-27).
My favorite verse, one that my daughter has memorized and we talk about it at bedtime/Bible time each night is 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Don’t let the fear of rejection keep you from evangelizing. Don’t let the desire for the praise of men keep you from working toward the praise of God. You can only have one.
I challenge you to ask yourself today ways that you can be bold in your faith! Ask yourself ways you can plant seeds this week, and spread the gospel. Ask yourself not how many followers you can get, but how you can better be a follower of Christ.
Father, we thank You today for the Good News! We thank You for Your great sacrifice. We thank You for your love. Help us be bold. Help us to seek out Your heart and Your will for every situation and help us to never shy away from speaking life into those situations. Guide us as we minister to all those we encounter this week. Help us to be better followers of You, we ask you to lead us in all we do, to guide our steps. In Jesus Holy Name, Amen.