Today’s Scripture Reading: John 7:1-9, Luke 9:51-56, Matthew 8:18-22, Luke 9:57-62, John 7:10-8:20
What have you taken a stand for lately?
- Your favorite sports team
- A pet project at work
- A family member or friend
- Your favorite “Dancing with the Stars” contestant
- Your party’s political candidate
Talking “smack” about your favorite sports team or political candidate is pretty easy compared to…
Taking a stand for Jesus Christ
I live in the Bible belt. During most of my working life I have been involved with organizations that had Christian heritages. No, they weren’t churches or non-profits, but they were made up of many Christian people and were founded on Christian values; compared to many of you, I’ve lived a pretty sheltered life.
So, you would think it would be easy in that atmosphere to speak about Jesus, right?
Yes and No.
It’s easy to speak about God.
But you can feel the tensions rising when the name of Christ is mentioned, even in places where most people consider themselves somewhat “Christian.” (There is no such thing as some what Christian!)
The word “God” means different things to different people. When we use that word, each person individually connects with it in their own way and everyone’s comfortable, but when we mention the name of Jesus Christ we draw a line in the sand and it forces people to get on one side or the other.
Don’t get me wrong when it comes to being a witness to those who don’t know Christ, it can be very helpful to open the doors with discussions about ”God,” but at some point we have to distinguish “which God” we’re talking about.
It was the same way in Jesus’ day:
But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him (Jesus) in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders. –John 7:13 (explanation mine)
The “Jewish Leaders” here are clearly the Jerusalem authorities, who correspond in John’s day to the leaders repressing not only the Jewish Christians but also any other views within Judaism that they saw as competing with their own position. (The IVP Background Commentary: New Testament)
In today’s politically correct society, many of us don’t have the courage to speak favorably about Jesus Christ to our family, much less our friends, co-workers, bosses, or political leaders.
Just like the Jews in Jesus’ day, we’re afraid…
- Being seen as “different”
- Being left out of the “in” crowd
- Being passed over for a promotion
- Being punished in some way for our beliefs
What can we do to be more courageous in our stand for Christ?
Here are 5 Courage Boosters:
- Ask your Heavenly Father to give you courage to share Jesus with others
- Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to prepare the way for you to share Jesus with others
- Develop a genuine friendship and concern for the individual as a person before you begin to talk to them about your Savior
- Live a life of exceptional integrity in the community, workplace, and home, which will leave others asking, “what’s up with this person? Why are they different?”
- When God opens a door for you to speak, do so with love and compassion, not a preachy, judgmental attitude
What would you add to this list?
Heavenly Father, forgive us for our lack of courage. Jesus, You told us that if we deny you on this earth, You will deny us before Your Father in heaven (Matthew 10:33). Remind of us the importance of Your Name. Give us boldness to serve You and speak of You to others in our day-to-day life.
© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: John 8:21-59, Luke 10:1-11:13