Bold and Beautiful

   I have been asked quite a bit, as to what it takes to become bolder to profess the Gospel. More specific, people want to know how to be able to speak face to face with someone, and to answer questions they have, or even to combat when people wrongly quote or misinterpret the Bible. Many people are crippled with fear when they think about sharing the Gospel, or being rejected. Remove yourself from that equation, as it is not you, but rather Jesus they are rejecting. Even though the failures (and there will be some) as well as the insults (and there will be some) feel painful, it really is only temporary.

   There are first two very important things to help you with your boldness, as well as growth in Christ in general. I know people hear this a lot, but there is no magic formula, it really is as simple as prayer and reading your Bible. The difference is how we approach these. Let me address the two.

   First, reading the Bible. Know that any time you attempt to pick your Bible up, or read it on an app, Satan and his minions are going to throw everything they can to create delays or interruptions. You won’t experience the same amount with any other book. You will sometimes want to make excuses not to read, or say “Hey I don’t get it, no point in reading.” What we often forget is, you aren’t going to understand everything you read the first time, or second, or hundredth. It takes time, and you pick up different things here and there, and have to keep going back, review, think on what your read, etc. Imagine if while we were in school, we simply tossed our math book away or science book because we didn’t understand it when we first read it. Imagine if through school, we stayed out at recess all day instead of trying to learn, and studying. The Bible is no different. Each time before you read, ask God to give you wisdom and knowledge. Scripture tells us He will give it to us.

 

James 1:5

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

 

   Now, it may not be when or how in depth we think we need it, but He will supply you with the knowledge He knows you should have. Be content with it and continue to strive for more. Read every day, knowing there will undoubtedly be days you can’t, don’t let that be the norm. Read with the intent of learning and ask God to hide His word in your heart. You won’t instantly become a scholar as the world sees it, but that is not the intent. The intent is a closer walk with Christ that makes you bold. You will be surprised after you have been reading for a while how many times you remember scripture, maybe not word for word, but remember the context and meat of it, even if you can’t remember the chapter and verse. You can then do a keyword search in the Bible index or with your app on your phone. Eventually, the memorization will come with repetition. In addition, pick some verses to work on memorizing that can be essential in conversations. Some examples are John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 1:1 and 14, Isaiah 40:8, Romans 3:23, Romans 10:9-10. Pick one and spend an entire week reading it and trying to repeat as much as possible.

   Finally, on prayer. Prayer is the most powerful relationship builder with God. Just as with a spouse, family member, or friend, if there is little or no communication, the relationship is rocky and fails. It keeps us in communion with Him, and helps us know His voice, when He speaks to us. It’s not always a thundering boom but often just an internal nudge to do something. This is how we learn to determine those things and recognize him. If one of my kids or my wife calls me, as soon as I hear them speak, I know who they are, however; if a friend from 3rd grade called and was like, “Hey Mike!”, I would have to be told who they are. That’s the point of prayer in learning His voice. It also enables us to pray for others, as well as continually praying for His direction, knowledge in His word, boldness, and to be able to be used by Him. It’s not just for bed time or at meals. At the minimum, we should have one time a day outside of those situations that we pray, but the beauty of prayer and our God is that He can hear us anywhere, at anytime, and whether our eyes are closed or not. Talk to Him while driving down the road, working out, working, etc. He will hear you without you speaking out loud so you have access to Him all the time.

   In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul tells us we are not fighting people (flesh and blood), but actually the spirit world. He goes on to tell us the armour we must have to persevere and do battle. The Bible is our sword, and it is kept sharp by reading it. Through prayer and reading our Bible we can not only properly battle, we will have boldness built up in us. Challenging yourself to share the Gospel once a day is another good way. It can be as simple as putting a Gospel tract out on a gas pump, public bathroom, in conjunction with your tip for your waitress, and the list goes on. Maybe you can post a Bible verse on social media each day or to contacts on your cell phone. But we have to have some steps in sharing our faith to train us, or help us be bolder in face to face situations. But I say that with reservation, because God is fully able to have us prepared from the first step for those. We have to believe that, even if it is not our path, He is certainly able to do it. How much more confident we can then become knowing if we commit ourselves to daily learning, He will build us up. We have to be willing to be used, in ANY way He sees fit, and tell him that.

   Sometimes God uses you to share the Gospel; sometimes it is for a simple smile and a hello. You never know, but you have to be open for it. And here is the kicker; be willing to fail in your own eyes. Many Christians are often worried about sharing because they think they will mess it up, yet all through the Bible we see situations where God used those things for his glory and made much fruit out of what seemed to be a situation that was a mess. In the end, we are here for His glory and not ours. If we believe the Bible to be true, then we believe Him when He says in Isaiah 55:11 that when His word goes out, it doesn’t return void. It always accomplishes what He wants it to, not what we do. We have to stop expecting people to drop to their knees every time we share His Word and realize we are only planting. He will harvest in His due time. That in itself gives such a huge amount of freedom, boldness, and a weight lifted off our shoulders. No matter how nervous we may be, no matter if we view our attempt at sharing as a failure, keep in mind God can use it for his glory, let it go, and let him use it, and look for the next opportunity.

   A man walked in Wendy’s one day to eat and noticed 4 guys sitting at a table that were loud, being vulgar, and looked like they might be trouble-makers. The whole time he was ordering and waiting, he thought about them as he heard them creating their ruckus. He sat his food down on the table and went back to go get ketchup and napkins. As he passed the table, he noticed two of the men with tshirts with atheist slogans on them. All this time, he wanted to say something to them, he wanted to share, but was scared to. He didn’t know what to say. Yet he had been asking God to use him, but he didn’t have anything dramatic prepared to tell these guys. On his way back, his feet seemed to freeze at the table, all four men looked at him, and he stared for what seemed like an eternity. One of the guys said “What? What do you want?” Then it happened. He blurted out “John 3:16”. That was it. Nothing else. No earth shattering, chain breaking 10 minute razzle dazzle message. Simply John 3:16. After a brief pause, the four men began laughing hysterically, cursing him out, and ridiculing him. Like a whipped dog, he sat at his table, quickly ate and left. “Oh what a failure”, he thought, “what a complete mess.” “Why? Why did this happen?” The praying I talked about before, to where you can hear God’s voice? Well the answer came. It happened for God’s glory, nit his. It’s not about us when we share; at some point God can use that in those four men’s lives, or even with a bystander who saw it unfold.  And God gets the glory not us, the way it is supposed to be.

   THAT is what we must be willing to do. THAT is where we get boldness. If Jesus stepped out of glory and endured what He did for us, and suffered what He did even as Lord of all things, how can we expect better at the drop of a hat. How can we justify not being willing to suffer for Him? And when we finally get that, when we wrap our minds around that thought, and use the tools of prayer, read the Bible, and put on that full armor of God…. boldness will take root. Remember, if you wait to share until you think you have enough knowledge, you will never share. God does not have to have a scholar, and nobody will ever have an answer for everything.

Romans 10:14-15

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

 

2nd Timothy 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

 

In His Grace,

       Mike Harris Jr.

 

 

 

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