Be Bold!

It is not popular these days to be open about being a Christian. In times past, it was the “in” thing to be. Maybe it still is in some places in the world today. But to proclaim to the whole world online that “I am a child of God” is frowned upon. Saying that “I am a Christian” provokes much criticism.

There are certainly reasons why this shift happened, some of them quite valid. But I am not going to dwell on all the negative things that have brought us to this point. Instead I would like to look at what wisdom and encouragement the Bible has to offer for us today.

Why do we even need wisdom and encouragement in this matter? I am not talking about physical persecution here, being thrown in jail or tortured or anything life threatening like that. I am “just” talking about not being popular. However, in the ever more connected world that we live in, this is a source of great fear. And fear paralyses one into NOT doing God’s will!

Lets look at what Paul wrote to Timothy. In his first letter, we learn that Timothy was still quite young, and that this was why people were not taking him seriously. In fact, Paul puts it quite strongly – they “despised” his youth!

1 Timothy 4:12 (WEBBE): Let no man despise your youth; but be an example to those who believe, in word, in your way of life, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity.

I am sure that there must have been plenty of opportunities for Timothy to fear what people thought of him. To fear whether they would listen to him because he is still so young. In this second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote:

2 Timothy 1:7 (WEBBE): For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.

The Greek word that is translated as fear in this verse is δειλία (deilia). Here is the full definition according to Thayer’s Greek Definitions:

1) timidity, fearfulness, cowardice

Now lets see what Paul wrote next, which follows logically for him out of the idea that timidity and fear is NOT from God:

2 Timothy 1:8-10 (WEBBE): 8Therefore don’t be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but endure hardship for the Good News according to the power of God, 9who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before times eternal, 10but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the Good News.

Don’t be ashamed. Rather be bold, because we have received a spirit of “power, love, and self-control”. We have all that we need, not by our own works but by what Jesus did for us.

Hebrews 13:5-6 (WEBBE): 5Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for he has said, “I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you.” 6So that with good courage we say,
“The Lord is my helper. I will not fear.
What can man do to me?”

With God on our side, we don’t need to fear people or for that matter what they think of us!

We have plenty of reasons already to not be ashamed or afraid. But if you are still not convinced that we should be bold, consider this. How would you feel if the person that you love the most in the world was too ashamed of you to introduce you to his/her friends? Do you think that is true love, or even love at all?

Mark 8:38 (WEBBE): For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he comes in his Father’s glory, with the holy angels.”

How can we have an intimate relationship with Jesus and yet be so ashamed of Him that we won’t introduce Him to our friends? And how can we expect Him to then not be ashamed of us in turn?

Matthew 5:14-16 (WEBBE): 14You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can’t be hidden. 15Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house. 16Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Do not hide under a basked because you fear being unpopular! Instead, shine the light of the Lord boldly into the world!