Boldness for Christ: Taking Risks and Stepping Up Your Faith
AN URGENT CALL TO THE SAINTS TO MAKE DISCIPLES
The world today needs the witness of Jesus Christ more than it ever has before. You know it, and I know it. Anyone who has followed Christ for very long knows it beyond the shadow of a doubt.
Most of the world, however, would disagree. They’ve been seduced by false witnesses for so long that for them, if anything, the witness of Jesus is just a minor footnote in the stories of their lives.
Look at some of the things people have bought into.
The false witness of globalism, one-world government, and what Revelation calls the Beast system.
The false witness of situational ethics, that people get to choose what’s right and wrong for them.
The false witness that any lifestyle is normal, no matter how bizarre, now expanding to transgenderism and even to transhumanism.
The false witness that all paths lead to God.
The false witness that God was created by humans, not vice versa.
The false witness of the so-called “prosperity” gospel and other perversions of Jesus’ message.
Even though they are false, these so-called “witnesses” are capturing the hearts, minds, and efforts of more and more people. This is not just an abstract statement. All of us have family, friends, business associates, and others who have bought into the lies that these false witnesses seductively promote.
The false witnesses sing their seductive siren songs and say, “Follow me!” They promise their followers more money, more power, more prestige, even more spirituality… and they can deliver the goods. They also deliver their followers to the very gates of hell!
Jesus promises that the gates of hell will not prevail against those who follow Him, but He makes no such claim about those who follow anything or anyone but Him. These people are figuratively standing at the brink, about to be totally consumed. And you may be the one who can show them the true witness of Jesus Christ that they so desperately need.
WAKE UP, SAINTS!
My brothers and sisters in Christ, whatever level your Christian witness is at today, I urge you take it up a notch. However you’re presently sharing your faith with others, I urge you to step out even more boldly. Whatever it is you’re doing to get the word of God’s amazing love and grace to the world, do more!
But let me be crystal clear. I’m not calling for more church attendance, more church meetings, or even more church service. All these are important, but they can lull you – and me – into a deep slumber as far as seeking and saving the lost is concerned.
We can liken our church attendance and service to the huddle of a football team, important but not part of the actual game. And as we all know, not a single point has ever been scored from a huddle. You’ve got to get in the game to do that!
Frankly, my friends, we need more front-line soldiers in Christ’s army than ever before. That’s because the battle for souls isn’t fought from the rear but on the front lines.
Will you step up and be a front-line soldier for Christ? Will you be a witness for our Lord?
JESUS DECLARES THAT WE ARE HIS WITNESSES
It’s not just I who is urging you forward but Jesus Himself. He has commissioned us to go make disciples, teaching them His ways, and immersing them into the life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As we do so, He promises He’ll always be with us! (Matt 28:18-20).
His last words to His followers were for us to be His witnesses: here, there, and everywhere (my paraphrase of Acts 1:8). To declare to everyone what we ourselves have witnessed of His power, His, grace, and His love in our own lives.
SAINTS, NO MORE EXCUSES
When we say “but,” we may be making excuses, but aren’t we just admitting that we can’t do any of this on our own?
But I don’t know how to start a spiritual conversation
But I don’t have a dramatic “salvation story” to tell
But what if I mess up?
But what do I do if I’m asked a question I can’t answer?
But what if I’m laughed at…or worse?
So if you find yourself saying, “But…,” don’t stop there. Pray for God to provide whatever you lack. Then get off your “but…” and step out in faith to be a witness for Jesus. Yes, that takes courage, but you only need courage long enough to take the first step, about 20 seconds worth. After that, you’ll find out that the Lord is truly with you as He has promised.
Let me suggest some actions you can take to make you a more effective witness for our Lord.
1. See Yourself as Jesus Sees You
Jesus sees each of us as deeply loved, precious, and of immense value and incredible worth. Scripture even speaks of us as being His “jewels.” Jesus pours His love, His mercy, and His grace into every one of us.
Each of us has been handcrafted by the Lord. We are His workmanship, a work of art. “Fearfully and wonderfully made.” The Lord has given us spiritual gifts as well as practical gifts of personality and skill, and we are meant to use those gifts both for the benefit of the body of Christ and to seek and save the lost.
How has God gifted you? Have you ever thought about it? Maybe He has given you gifts of kindness or generosity or graciousness. If so, use those gifts to lead others to Christ. Perhaps you have been given gifts of intellect like the apostle Paul or the skill to debate like the apostle Peter. If so, use those gifts for Him.
Maybe God has given you the gift of strong testimony, like the blind man Jesus healed. If so, testify, and lead others to Christ through your testimony. Perhaps God has given you a heart for service, like we read of Dorcas in Acts 9:36-42. If so, serve, and lead others to Christ through your service.
2. See Others as Jesus Sees Them
Jesus tells us we should love others as He loves them. How does He love them? Why, the same way He loves us! He is ready to pour Himself into others the same way He has poured Himself into us. He sees them just like He sees us: of great value and incredible worth. His “jewels.”
But many times, we see others as just part of the scenery. Objects. Of no value unless they can do something for us. What would it be like to see others like Jesus does, as three-dimensional people instead of the furniture of life? As people He yearns to have a relationship with?
Try it. The next time you’re in the checkout line at the grocery store, look at the clerk and see him as a deeply loved child of God. When you’re at a restaurant, see the value in your server that God does.
Some of these people are the “lost” Jesus came to seek and to save. Yes, they may be knee deep in sin, but sin doesn’t make them worthless; it just makes them “lost,” sort of like how I get every time I try to drive through downtown Philadelphia. Totally and completely lost and in need of a clue to get back on track. “Lost” people need directions, too. Maybe God placed you in their path to give them that clue.
3. Follow the Lead of the Holy Spirit
The real witness and the ultimate evangelist isn’t us but the Holy Spirit. Being sensitive to the Spirit’s prompting is essential to knowing what to say, when to say it, and who to say it to. It’s not something we’re born with; it’s something we learn through experience.
At first, you may have only a vague feeling that God is wanting you to witness in some way. You think, “Is this really from the Holy Spirit? Maybe it’s my imagination. Do I follow through or not?”
The only one way to find out is to take a step – perhaps a small one – in the direction you think the Spirit is leading. If you will do this consistently, you’ll learn to hear Him more clearly. Just continue to listen and respond, and you will get better at discerning when He is really at work. (And if you step out when He wasn’t, no harm done!)
4. Take Your Level of Risk Up a Notch
Making the move to take the message of Jesus to others is going to require personal involvement, which means stepping out in faith into situations we may feel uncomfortable with. It means taking a risk, and that’s where our good intentions fail us, as most of us are extremely risk-averse.
Let me give you some assurance.
First, it is the Lord who is leading our effort. He’s put us in someone’s path because He has a role for us in that person’s spiritual journey. Most likely, He has others lined up to share their faith with this person in due time.
Second, the only way to overcome fear is to increase our faith, and that means raising the level of risk in our lives a notch. Just a notch, please, not a foolish amount. Over time the small steps will accumulate, and you will see a massive transition from fear to faith.
“BUT WHAT IF SHE SCREAMS?”
Let me tell you about one time I decided to make a risky move. It doesn’t seem like that much of a risk now, but at the time it made my head spin and stomach churn.
I was attending a prayer and healing service at the National Cathedral in Washington DC in one of the side chapels. Most of the prayers were read from prayer requests made earlier. The only two people who prayed out loud were me and a woman a few feet from me.
When the service was over I walked around this beautiful space, taking in the stained-glass windows, sculpture, and architecture. As my walk took me back to the prayer chapel, I saw the woman who had prayed aloud at a kneeler praying silently.
I watched for a moment and then sensed the Lord saying, “Go pray with her!” I thought to myself, “You’ve got to be kidding, God. What if she screams?”
Well, I quickly blew off that thought and kept on walking, but when I circled around to the chapel again, she was still there praying. Again, I heard, “Go pray with her!”
I thought, “I’ll just sit in the first row of chairs and pray for her from there.” I sat and bowed my head to pray and again heard, “Go pray with her!” I was feeling very uneasy by now, thinking how she would react to a strange man approaching her. She just might scream!
I stopped my prayer, looked up, and saw she had moved to the far left side of the kneeler, leaving plenty of room for another person to pray beside her. “Ok, God,” I thought, “I’ll go, but you may have to bail me out of jail!”
So, I took my level of risk up a notch, walked over, and knelt beside her. (And she didn’t scream!) I prayed aloud softly, asking for God’s blessing and guidance on “this woman whose name I don’t even know.” We prayed for a few minutes more, and when we stopped, she thanked me and told me that she had asked the Lord for someone to come pray with her. She then went into personal details that showed me why the Lord wanted me to pray with her.
Wow! I was so glad I took that risk.
Did I say anything profound? No. Share my faith with her? Not really. Lead her to Jesus? No. What I did was hear what the Holy Spirit was saying to me and then responding it. Being a witness.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?
In closing, my question to you is simply this, “What are you going to do with what you just read?”
The adversary would like nothing more than for you to say, “This is a good message,” and then keep surfing the net to find the next “good message.” The last thing Satan wants is for you to “do” anything.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, time is so short. Jesus has commissioned us – commanded us! – to take His message to a lost and hurting world. To “seek and save the lost,” just as He did.
It’s time for us Saints to make a move and leave our excuses behind. To take our level of risk up a notch. To wake up and rise up in power and praise. To take the message of Jesus to a deceived world that has been lured to the very gates of hell.
Your witness may be as simple as the words “You matter to me,” to someone who has never heard them. It may mean taking a walk across the room to introduce yourself to someone who may need to hear of God’s love and grace. It may mean pouring His love into another person as you disciple them for a season. It may mean confrontation or deep discussion or sharing your testimony or serving someone in radical ways.
The Holy Spirit will guide you, as He has promised (John 16:13).
So, my brothers and sisters in Christ, what are you going to do? Time is getting short, and people need the Lord like never before.
Will you be a witness for our Lord?