Today is not about being overwhelmed. It's not about struggling in your faith—trying to find a way to keep it alive. Today is not about you and I at all. It's about Jesus Christ, and his Word.
My friend Andrew travels the world as an evangelist. He's gifted in sharing his faith with others. In fact, we could be talking about fly fishing and eventually he will say something about Christ to me; his eyes will fill up and the passion will pour forth.
So many of us, however, too quickly right-off men and women like Andrew. "They have a gift. I'm not called to 'share' my faith like that. I 'share' my faith by the way that I live."
Indeed, we are to share our faith through the way we live our lives. What can be more powerful than a life lived as a beacon for hope?
Over the last few days, however, I've been convicted about my own boldness in proclaiming Christ to people. Not just living it, but saying something about it.
Do you pray for boldness?
I don't mean boldness in general; boldness in your work, school or play. Rather, do you pray for boldness in your faith? Specifically, do you pray that God strengthens your witness? Do you pray for God to give you the boldness to proclaim his power and love?
In our age of sophistication and politically correct rhetoric, it seems rather silly these days to "witness" to people. And by "witness" I don't mean walking door to door in your neighborhood, per se. I mean, when given the opportunity, actually proclaiming Christ's love and what he did for you, for me.
In Acts 3 Peter and John heal a lame beggar at the temple gate (called Beautiful). Their action affords them the opportunity to further explain the power of Jesus to the onlookers. Peter preaches and many believe.
After Peter and John were jailed for preaching and healing the beggar, the religious leaders threatened them, forbidding them to speak any further of this "Jesus." When Peter and John returned to the baby church, that had been growing daily, the congregation immediately prayed for ... boldness.
And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
They prayed for boldness and God shook the walls of their gathering place—literally. And then, they were filled with Holy Spirit and continued to "speak the word of God with boldness."
What if we looked for opportunities for proclamation as well as opportunities for action?
What if the boldness of our speech matched the boldness of our actions?
What if we suddenly became unafraid to talk about Christ, what he's doing in the world, and how he has made us whole?
What if, in the face of sure mockery, you and I did not back down, but prayed for boldness in our testimony?
What if the stories of the early church became more than mere methodological narrative for church leaders and more of a guiding light for our every ethic, more of an inspirational impetus for you and I to actually "speak" the Word of Truth to the world?
I wonder if the walls of hearts would shake. i wonder if we might live emboldened to do more than just live, but to speak the truth in love.
Timothy Willard is the author of five books, including Longing For More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life and the forthcoming The Life-Giving Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019). He has collaborated on over 20 books and has written, consulted and served as spiritual director for organizations such as Chick-fil-A, Catalyst, Q Ideas and Praxis Labs. When he’s not riding the trails in the Appalachian mountains you can find him by the fire with his three daughters and his wife making up stories about Tom the back yard badger. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.