Fear of Evangelism

Bangalore India

Have you ever questioned why you live where you live? Or, right now, are you wondering why you are sitting here at this moment reading this devotional? Have you thought about why your family has moved or why you didn’t get that job you wanted? Life usually doesn’t follow our plans.  In our eyes, life is unpredictable and messy. James 4:14-15 cautions us in saying “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’” Crazy thought, huh? You are a vapor. Life is fast, yet so full of meaning. Don’t let a day pass by that is not used for God’s glory. Think about this. The specific circumstances you are in at this moment are for God. You are God’s plan for introducing other’s to Jesus Christ.  Now, think about your neighbor that doesn’t go to church, your friend that doesn’t know Jesus, or your cousin that doesn’t believe in God. The reason we evangelize, or share with others about Jesus, is out of a deep love for God and concern for others. Have you ever thought about how the Gospel got to the place you live for you to hear it and know Jesus? It was through the obedience of God’s followers in the church in Acts. Someone told his or her friend, mother, or neighbor about Jesus, and somewhere down the line, someone told you. In Acts 1:8, Jesus told His disciples “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Basically, Jesus told them that they would be witnesses throughout the entire world, yet later He told them to stay in Jerusalem. How were they to witness to people ALL over the world, if they were to stay in the same place? Their faith spread, because they told people about Jesus. And then those people told others about Jesus. Then those people told others about Jesus…until word about our Savior spread all over the world, even to us.

What keeps us from sharing Christ like the early church did? It is easy to talk about Jesus in Bible study and on Sunday mornings because we are usually with people who believe as well and have fewer distractions. However, when we get to work or to the grocery store, we are crippled by fear. Even Paul was afraid. In I Corinthians 2:1-5, he said, “And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” We weren’t designed to be fearful. II Timothy 1:7 says that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline.”

Bangalore, India

God knew that we would fear while we lived on the earth. That is why Jesus gently gives us the command in Luke 12:32, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.” Fear not what others will say. Fear not what your friends will think. Do not fear rejection, because God is for you. When you share your faith, there are only two responses the person can give. The person will either say no, or they will give their lives to Jesus. Don’t let fear cripple the Gospel in your life. Read Philip’s story of boldly sharing his faith in the Scripture below.

“But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, ‘Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ (This is a desert road.) So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship, and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go up and join this chariot.’ Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him…Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from the Scripture he preached Jesus to him.” Acts 8:26-31, 35

Philip took God’s commission in Acts 1:8 seriously, and followed Him where He led to tell others about Jesus. He didn’t allow fear to rob his witness, or embarrassment to steal his joy. He followed Hebrews 12:1-2a, which says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw aside everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith.”  In this verse, to “throw aside” means to “put off or put aside or away.” Literally, you are to take every single thing, including fear, pride, and embarrassment, that keeps you from telling your friends about Jesus. No fear is greater than the power of God in us. This verse in Hebrews reminds us that we can lose everything while chasing nothing. Let us be people with purpose, and a generation that boldly shares our faith and is willing to go to the end of the earth, or to our schools and tell people about Jesus Christ, our Savior.

When Stephen was on trial for his faith in God, the high priest asked him if his faith was true. Knowing that his answer would lead to his death, he boldly began to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Acts 7, Stephen preached one of the longest sermons in Acts about the testimony of who Jesus was before he was to be stoned.  Right before his death, he cried, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55) If Jesus is your vision, and Heaven your goal, sharing your faith will come naturally and with joy because everything else fades away.

Despite persecution the church faced in Acts, they still grew in outrageous numbers daily. One time, 5,000 people believed in Jesus just because they shared their faith. Despite the hard times they faced and the threats of man, they still joyfully proclaimed the name of Jesus. See your hard times as an opportunity to share with others. View your life through the lens of God. Never say, “Woe is me.” Rather say, “WOW is God.” He can work in any person’s life, in any way He pleases, and He wants to use YOU.

Our job is to be available to God, obedient when He calls, and bold in our faith. God’s part is to speak through us, give us confidence, and draw people to Himself.

“You have one life. That’s all. You were made for God. Don’t waste it.” –John Piper (Don’t Waste Your Life)

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

living for the Gospel,

Gretchen