21.7.08

Open Up!

Do you ever feel that uncomfortable pull to soften your words, hold back the complete truth, say (or not say) something to convince the person you're speaking with that you're not....too different? Am I confusing you yet? :)

I'm talking about conversations about God. About being a light. Sharing the gospel. Talking about the Lord's influence in your life. Sometimes it feels like a continuous battle to live boldly as a christian without worrying or wondering about how others perceive me. I want that to change though. I want to live boldly for Christ, to be available for Him to use wherever and whenever. How do I become that person? I realize that it's a continuous process. I continually need to be meditating on God's Word, and asking for His help. It's a change that needs to come within the heart, and I can't do that on my own. A couple things I like to remember:

1. Feeling (being) different is a good thing! The contrast between followers of Jesus and the world is supposed to be stark, something that sadly isn't often the case in our society.

"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:" (Philippians 3:20)
"Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15)

2. I need to trust God for strength. Our job is to obey. Often only as we take the first step in obedience does God give us the strength. Not always beforehand.

"For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline." (2 Timothy 1:7)
"You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1)
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)

How about you - Do you ever struggle in this area? Do you have any favorite verses about being bold as a believer?

8 comments:

Penn Tomassetti said...

This is a very good topic to post on! Good questions as well. This is an area I can honestly say I've fought relentlessly since I became a genuine Christian over five years ago. By God's grace I have overcome, and continue to overcome timidity in sharing the truth in love.

I could write so much on this topic, but will start with this one thing: genuine conversion is the starting point. Five years ago, I did not know that reading my Bible in depth, alone in my room, would so profoundly change me forever and I would never be the same afterward. When Christ became my all in all, then the battle began. No one is going to have the strength to overcome the world, until they have been crucified with Christ, and He now lives in them (Gal. 2:20; 1 John 5:4). That is where it all began for me. For a long time I thought I was a Christian, but it wasn't until genuine conversion to Christ came, that things began to happen in my life. The love in my heart came by the Holy Spirit. The boldness came through much repentance and prayer. The courage came through intense reading of the Bible. The grace came simply by the mercy of God in Christ.

If you don't mind, Stephanie, I would like to promote this post on my blog. I am curious to learn what others have to say to your questions.
Thanks,
Penn

Angela said...

Stephanie,
Great post. I deal with this one frequently, and I just make sure that I don't let go of the truth, and that I am speaking in love and not with a spirit of condescension. Our views of the world as Christians are so very different than the views of those who don't acknowledge God that sometimes it seems like we are talking to people from another planet..tonight a guy I worked with asked me if God hates homosexuals..um, no, but it is a sin...I just pray for opportunities to talk about God and the wisdom and discernment to know what to say. It's tricky to talk about God and be P.C. at the same time!!

Meshaay said...

Yes. Your first paragraph described me accurately. I like 1Tim 1:7. Also, I choose to remember what I've been called to (Eph 1:16 or 17) and embrace the fact that I'm different. And I've been reminded by this post that it's through God that I'll really change, not in my own strength.

Penn Tomassetti said...

This is definitely a "continuous process" as you mentioned. I must say that I have grown more calm and less nervous around people when I feel an opportunity to share truth with them. However, for me, the continuing battle is to fight to have love for these people. I know that love does not rejoice at what is evil, but always rejoices with the truth (1 Cor. 13), so if we really love people we will be concerned about sharing the truth of God with them, no matter how we look doing it. Jesus said we would not be liked, in fact, He said, "If they hated me, they will hate you also." So what I am saying is that love is the key. I need more love for people, because then I will not be so concerned about myself, and will be more concerned about others. And of course, love does not act rudely when doing so :)

Thanks again for such an encouraging post.

simplysanctified said...

Amen - wonderful post! A much needed encouragement for my heart!

Rebekah said...

Ouch...I needed that. You sure stepped on my toes, but that's a good thing, and a great reminder. Thanks!

Brianna said...

Wow Stephanie! I was just thinking about that exact topic and about how BAD I am at sharing Christ boldly! I worry about what others think of me...way to much!
Thanks!
Brianna

E03 said...

good post...