In a survey of over 1600 Christians, the number one reason people cited for not sharing their faith was due to fear.
Many of us are scared to talk to people we don’t know.
We fear saying the wrong thing. We worry we won’t be able to answer their questions. Or that we will just end up looking like fools.
We’re afraid of how people will respond.
Will they lash out at us? Make fun of us? Or decide they no longer want to associate with us?
Sharing our faith can also be scary simply because of the culture we live in. It’s nerve-wracking to engage with people who are so different from us.
I mean where do we even begin to interact with people like:
- The girl next door with crazy dyed hair and piercings galore.
- The woman down our street who seems to have given up on life and is always drunk or high.
- The two women holding hands in the grocery store.
- Or the cashier who looks like a girl . . . but talks like a boy.
The darkness of our culture can be overwhelming. It can make us feel ill-equipped and too afraid to share the good news of our faith.
Why Do We Need to Be Bold in Christ?
The devil really loves to use fearfulness to keep us from shining for Jesus.
Because while we often talk about the fight or flight response in regard to fear. There is often another response when we feel afraid . . . we freeze.
Fear stops us from opening our mouths. It keeps us locked away in our safe, comfortable Christian circles.
Fear can render us powerless and useless.
Which is exactly what the devil wants.
Because then he can continue to ruin people’s lives so they lose all hope.
So, how can we stop him? How can we learn to be brave and share the good news of our faith?
What does the Bible say about boldness and courage?
The Bible has a lot to say about boldness and courage.
And we can see a perfect example of someone who learned to be brave in their faith by looking at the life of Peter.
Peter was confident in his devotion to Jesus while everything was going well. But then things changed.
Jesus was arrested by the Jewish authorities and everything Peter believed came into question.
He had thought Jesus was going to be a great leader. And maybe even defeat Rome.
And yet, now it looked like Jesus was the one who was going to be defeated!
While Peter wanted to see what happened, so he stayed close by. He also was facing the very valid fear that someone might recognize him as a person who had been with Jesus . . . and turn him in to be arrested, too.
He knew his very life might be at stake that night. And so, he did what he had to in order to protect himself.
When he was asked three different times if he knew Jesus. He denied it.
All because he was afraid.
But that wasn’t the end of Peter’s story.
One day Peter ran into the resurrected Jesus. Who forgave, healed, and restored Peter.
And if we continue to follow Peter’s story, we discover in the book of Acts that Peter was one of the most fundamental pillars of the early church.
He even preached so boldly in public one day, that 3,000 souls were saved!
But then both Peter and John were arrested.
However, where before Peter had been afraid of being arrested, now he didn’t seem to care. We can see he held nothing back when the authorities questioned him.
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”-Acts 4:13 ESV
And on another occasion when Herod arrested Peter and planned on killing him the next day, we see this in the book of Acts:
“Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, ‘Get up quickly.’ And the chains fell off his hands.”-Acts 12:6-7 ESV
So, the night before he was facing his own execution, Peter was sleeping so soundly that the angel God had sent to rescue him had to hit him to wake him up!
I don’t know about you, but if I knew it was my last night on Earth, I would not be sleeping.
I’d probably be worrying. Pacing around. And frantically trying to come up with a way to get out.
But Peter wasn’t doing any of those things. He was sleeping soundly.
It reminds me of the story in Mark 4:38-40 when the disciples, including Peter, were caught in a storm and began to panic while Jesus slept in the front of the boat.
I wonder if as Peter drifted off to sleep that night, he reflected back on that moment.
Smiling as he realized, he had found the same peace within his heart as His beloved Savior and King.
How to Be Bold in Your Faith
So, what changed? How did Peter overcome his fear? How did he go from being afraid to being brave?
And how can we do the same thing? How can we learn to practice bravery so we can be bold in our faith?
Well, there are 3 steps that can help us.
1) Step 1: Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you.
The secret to the miraculous change in Peter is found in Acts 4:8:
“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them . . .”-Acts 4:8 NIV
You see, Peter’s boldness came from the Holy Spirit’s power within him.
The key to overcoming fear is to submit to and allow the Holy Spirit to control you and fill you.
He is the One who empowers us to speak. He is the One who gives us the words to say.
And the courage to say them.
“And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”-Luke 12:11-12 ESV
Okay, but how do we submit to and allow the Holy Spirit to control us?
Well, we have to:
2) Step 2: Abide in Christ.
It’s hard to trust someone you don’t know.
So, in order to submit to God. To allow His Holy Spirit to fill us so He can work in and through us . . . we have to get to know God.
By spending time WITH Him.
We have to learn how to abide in Christ. To spend time with God. And ask the Holy Spirit to fill us every day.
The answer to everything is to spend more time with our Savior and King.
When we spend time in His presence, we learn to trust the God who is always with us.
When we spend time abiding, we learn to rest in Him.
And when we sit still before the Lord, He helps us to step out in BOLD faith . . . even when we feel afraid.
The more we read God’s Word and spend time in prayer and worship. The easier it becomes to trust Him.
To submit to Him.
And to surrender to the Holy Spirit who lives in us so that we can be calm and brave.
3) Step 3: Adopt a new attitude.
The apostle Paul said:
“I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.”-1 Corinthians 4:3-4 NIV
If I could paraphrase Paul here, it feels like he is saying:
“I don’t care what you think of me. I don’t even care what I think of me. All that matters is what God thinks of me.”
And that attitude is what gave Paul the courage to live boldly for Jesus.
Is that the attitude I am living with? The attitude you are living with?
An attitude of nothing matters except what matters to God.
And what matters to God is people.
Lost and broken people, who desperately need to meet Him.
What does it mean to be bold in faith?
Being bold in faith means being scared . . . and doing what God calls us to do anyway.
Faith and boldness go hand in hand. Because in order to be bold, you have to have faith.
And when we have faith, we no longer respond out of our fear of what might happen . . . rather we respond out of our faith in the God who is in control of everything that happens.
After all, when we are bold and talk to someone about spiritual things, their response is not our responsibility.
God is the only One who can change hearts and minds. He simply tells us to be bold and share our faith.
While leaving the rest up to Him.
We Are Called to Be Bold in Our Faith
We are called to be bold.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”-Ephesians 6:10 NIV
Boldness in Christianity is a good thing. We should live every day with a holy boldness for Jesus.
Yes, interacting with broken people is scary. It can be messy. And difficult.
Our fears are valid.
There are people who are going to oppose us, persecute us, and make fun of us for our faith.
But while our fears are real . . . so are Heaven and Hell.
What we have to realize . . . what I have to realize . . . is that my fear is often more about my love for myself than my love for others.
And then I have to ask myself these hard questions:
- Am I more concerned with my comfort and ease . . . than where people are going for eternity?
- Am I more afraid of what people will think of me . . . than the fact that they are dying spiritually?
We can choose to let the fear of rejection win. To let our worries over how people will perceive us keep us quiet about our faith.
Which, quite frankly, makes life a lot easier.
But if we do this, we will continue to lose our friends and neighbors to the devil’s weapons of hopelessness, despair, and depression.
Or we can choose to be bold in Christ.
To shine our lights into this dark and broken world, so that everyone around us can see . . . the light of Jesus shining through you and me!
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