By Tyson Thorne

February 20, 2017

Last week we highlighted one Olympic athlete who stood boldy for her faith, but there are many others. There are a number of athletes, and a few Hollywood actors and they have earned the respect of the Christian community for their boldness. With such public examples, why do so many Christians timidly go about their lives? For too many work or attend classes anonymously, hardly ever showing their true identity as followers of Jesus. It flies in the face of good Biblical teaching. "For God did not give us a spirit of fear," Paul writes, "but of power and love and self-control."

Today I want to takle the first of those attributes God's spirit gives us, power. Often we refuse to speak up because we don't like confrontation, but when we don't defend our beliefs it works against God's kingdom. This behavior might be "nice" in the sense that we are not offensive, butit's never nice to allow people to belive that our faith is empty and lacks the answers to life's difficulties. Back when I worked with BC Tours, , we used to educate people telling them that the original meaning of the word "nice" is "not knowing any better." When we avoid confrontation for the sake of being nice, we are lying to other about the nature of following Jesus. The truth is, we do know better and it's time we acted like it.

In God's kingdom, there are no trophies for non-participation. Jesus commands us to make disciples (Matthew 28.18-20) and that cannot be done by staying silent. You probably will never start talking to a crowd and have it turn into a sermon to hundreds of people, like happened to Peter (Acts 3.11-26) so you don't need to allow your fear of public speaking stop you. Not like that would be permitted by God anyway (see Moses, Exodus 4.10-12). For a more realistic example of what you might encounter, examine Jesus talking to the woman at the well.

In John chapter 4 Jesus enters Samaria, sends the disciples into town for supplies, and hangs out at Jacob's well. It's noon time and a lone woman approaches to draw water. Jesus starts a conversation by asking her for water, and the woman turns it into a racial conversation. Jesus turns it into a religious conversation by saying, "the water I give becomes a fountain springing up into eternal life." Jesus allows her a say in what she believes, and answers her coyly. That is, until she stops talking about religious customs and brings up God. At this point, Jesus launches into his longest response yet (taking up a seven full verses). It's a great example of bridging a conversation.

It is no mistake that this story ends with Jesus making a call to workers for the harvest. In Jesus' day, just like today, people often feared being different. For this reason, after his ascension, Jesus gave us his Holy Spirit. So that we might boldly declare the truth of God and his Word. If you want to know the power of God in your life, you have to step out in courage and in faith. Only then will you know his power, and only then will his power be known to others. It's time to stop hiding in the shadows and to step out onto the stage.

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.” — Acts 1.8


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