Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His Word), in God I will put my trust ; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me? (Psalm 56:3-4)
Taking a detour from my adventure through the Gospel of Luke, I’m gonna look at his second volume of writing, Acts. After Peter and John are apprehended by the religious leaders for preaching the Gospel, Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit, and boldly begins to proclaim Jesus to them. The Sanhedrin then threatens them and commands them to stop spreading this message, to which Peter replies “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot help but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20)
It’s important to remember that this is the same Peter who denied Jesus three times, now boldly proclaiming Him as Christ before the religious leaders in the face of persecution and punishment! That’s quite the turn-around. What inspired such a drastic change in the apostle Peter? It was the Spirit of Christ filling them with His own courage and power to stand strong and unwavering before the world and preach the truth of Jesus Christ. When the Holy Spirit came to dwell permanently within the disciples at Pentecost, they were transformed from cowering victims to bold ambassadors and witnesses to Christ!
As disciples and citizens of the Kingdom, we are called to fear and trust in God, not people; we can’t fully live out our commission without a measure of boldness and lack of concern for what others think. Whether that’s in school, in the workplace, or even in the Church, we should follow the example of Paul, who was tender and loving, yet abrasively strong in his stance for the truth and his proclamation of it! Today, it seems as though we’ve given in to this weak, soft mentality of being the Church, rather than finding the balance of Jesus: He was soft as velvet on the outside, and tough as steel on the inside. We must also be merciful, kindhearted and loving sheep above all, while still being bold and courageous lions as well.
- It’s incredibly difficult to find the balance between the savage boldness of someone like John the Baptist while still being the people of love and kindness Jesus calls us to be. But that’s where we’re supposed to live, in that middle ground; without becoming an overly aggressive noise-maker, we are to stand firm and strong for Christ. We have not been given a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and self-control. I encourage you to pray for the boldness and courage you need to witness for Christ to those around you, to stand firm against compromise, and to grow more into the image of the Son of God today!
Also I say to you, whoever confesses me before men, him I will confess before the angels of God. (Luke 12:8)