Because of the connotations of such passages as Mark 8: 38, believers are not usually willing to openly concede such failure that we ALL experience from time to time.
Like Peter, we can make emotional claims of our willingness to be martyred for the faith, or may be very vocal about some point of doctrine when conversing with like-minded believers, but how many times has the intensity of our conversation become diminished when someone with differing opinions comes within earshot of the discussion?
Why is it that we can talk about any other subject and not feel the need to justify, or worse, apologize for our positions, but can get uneasy when challenged to reveal our faith to nonbelievers. How many times do we begin our testimonies with, “I’m sorry, but I feel…”?
Sorry for what? Furthermore, a disciple’s doctrine should be based on dogmatic Biblical facts, not our feelings. Or are such phrases what psychologists would call a Freudian slip, revealing a fear of embarrassment if we chose to make a more forceful statement? (Ouch!!!).
I am not suggesting that we are to walk around beating others over the head with an oversized Bible and/or become the type of believer that others go down a different aisle when they see us coming. When given the opportunity to speak, we must do so with “gentleness and respect (1Pet. 3: 15 NIV)”, but never by compromising the truth. Making enemies by speaking the truth (Gal. 4: 16) is a part of being a spokesperson for God.
God the Holy Spirit is the One who works behind the scenes preparing the time, the place, the message, the messenger, and the recipient. When it is God’s timing, the recipient will be as willing and prepared to receive as the messenger is willing and prepared to present the Gospel Message and/or a point of edifying doctrine.
The testimony of our demeanor in the presence of strangers and our lifestyle observed by those who know us personally will ALWAYS precede the opportunity to verbally evangelize or spiritually edify others. When it is within God’s plan, it will be the recipient who will approach and ask questions of us (1Pet.3: 15), opening the door of opportunity. There is no need for us to go around seeking others to “witness” to; that is the work of God the Holy Spirit.
If we have to announce to others that we are Christians, there are spiritual issues of our own that we need to address before we can be used of God to speak for Him (Matt.7: 5)! Furthermore, we must first learn the “mind of Christ (1Cor. 2: 16 NIV)” before we can share it with others.
Pastor-teachers have “fixed” pulpits, but every believer has a “portable” pulpit. We carry it with us at home, socially, at the office and/or workplace. Our lifestyle, demeanor, speech, choices, and lifestyle will either attract or repel our assigned “congregation” to what we have to say regarding spiritual issues.
The fear of embarrassment can be just as debilitating as the actual event itself. The one who is free from both the fear of embarrassment and who can recover the quickest from the embarrassing events that inevitably happen is the one who is not intimidated by the opinion of others (Gal 1: 10). Developing the ability to genuinely laugh at oneself can be a great reliever of embarrassing pain and tension.
Public opinion is as fickle as the wind. The crowd will applause one moment and boo the next. Many in the crowd who praised the Lord on Psalm Sunday, called for His crucifixion a few days later!
The hurdle of embarrassment is intended to keep us sitting on the bench in the ballgame of life. The challenge is to step up to the plate and swing the bat. Each time we do, we may either get a home run or strike out, but the Word of God NEVER comes back empty. It ALWAYS completes its purpose (Isa.55: 11), as it will be the means of deliverance or the basis for judgment.
As spokespersons for God, we are NOT responsible for the response, but we are called to provide others with the Gospel and/or sanctifying doctrines (Ezekiel 3: 18, 19) as God gives us opportunity. We will be hindered from doing so until we overcome the hurdles of embarrassment that Satan places in front of us along the path to spiritual maturity and the life that glorifies God.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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