I used to think my belief in Jesus should be kept private overall. Stepping on people’s toes by talking about Him? Well, that’s just not appetizing to everyone we come into contact with in life.
I didn’t want to be rejected or considered a Jesus Freak, for one. Secondly, I didn’t want to make people feel uncomfortable by talking about my Savior because, well…I just really liked their approval of me so much. If people aren’t comfortable with you, they don’t want to hang out with you either, so fear of being alone and shunned played into my reserved nature about sharing Christ with others as well.
Bottom Line? No matter which way you cut it…..I was ashamed of my belief in Jesus. 😦
I no longer feel this way. and I will no longer act this way. I now see why, when truly making Christ the center of our lives, we can’t help but to want to cry out “rejoice in the Lord, I say rejoice!” (Phil 4:4) I not only have a different outlook about being bold for Jesus, but I am finding He is giving me what I need in order to actually act upon that and proclaim His name loudly.
A big part of how He is helping me has been through growing my heart – love – a true and genuine love for others. I never thought I’d see the day that I would have even a smidge of that kind of love in my creaky heart. I’m talking about the REAL stuff here – the TRUE kind of love that can only come from what God can fill us with through the Holy Spirit and His grace. Only His kind of love is sufficient. Only He can give it to us. And He has plenty of it to go around.
It’s so crucial to make sure that we truly do reflect the light of Jesus and His love in unmistakable ways in our world. When there’s so much darkness around to contend with, the lights need to be turned on full force. If we look to Jesus and the way he approached people when he walked on the soil of this earth, we can see pretty clearly that His concern was not as to whether or not speaking the truth would be an imposition to others and their comfort level. At the same time, He spoke the truth in love, didn’t He? He pierced the darkness then and He still does so now, without question.
I think some of the problem is that we can often forget about the importance of that love part. Part of being loving is being honest. I’m not talking about the kind of “honest” that people like to hide behind in order to just say whatever they want to say or do whatever they want to do – that’s actually called “no tact”, and can be quite heartless. But I am talking about the kind of honest in which we speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – His truth, in love – and then we leave others to decide for themselves how they feel about it and what they are, or aren’t going to do with that.That’s a decision that only that individual person can make.
I thought a lot today about the days Jesus walked as a man on this earth; He walked and loved amongst men and women that sometimes cried out to Him for help and love and healing and He did the same with those who decided otherwise; they decided instead to mock Him, chastise Him, beat, spit upon, berate, ostracize, and eventually crucify Him. I wondered about how He looked as He moved amongst these people – these souls who were just like we are today? Did He ever look confused or not sure of the truth? Did He ever look like He might love them today only to turn against them tomorrow? Did He ever portray a lack of fairness, compassion, mercy, or forgiveness?
No. Not even during His darkest hours. Jesus doesn’t withhold honest. And He doesn’t withhold love. But did this ever bother Him? Was He ever………………..
- “Jesus Wept”. John 11:35
- “And he [Jesus] said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.” Mark: 3:4,5
- “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
Our feelings can be maybe’s sometimes, but there is no maybe involved when it comes to Jesus and all He offers us – all the love He has for us – all that He was and is willing to do to save us from an eternal life apart from Him and the Father when He allowed Himself to be sacrificed on that cross. There is no maybe that He is risen, that He loves sinners, that only He can save us, and that He doesn’t want for one single soul to be lost to Him. There is no maybe with Jesus.
Should my life reflect any maybe’s then, in relation to professing my faith? Doing so would be akin to a slap in the face in light of all that He did for me, don’t you think? I owe it all to Him. And then some.
And like the twelve, I know I am soooooo very flawed, and I will fail when I operate in my own strength. Jesus was betrayed and denied by His very own, and He knew that He would be. So I pray all the time that He will give me the power and the faithfulness and the love for Him I need to never, ever back down and never, ever intentionally fail Him……to be willing and privileged to stand strong for Him until the very end. Because to say He deserves that from me? Well, that is a grand understatement if you ask me.
I tried to imagine how those disciples of His all looked, acted, and spoke as they went out amongst the nations, professing that Christ is risen…that He is Lord…that we can only be saved by Him and through Him. Although these men of God had very different styles and personalities and approaches, Jesus made it abundantly clear they were to be unmistakably His and to make that known – to spread the gospel to others, no matter what the circumstances – no matter what the cost – and to do so with absolute and total reckless abandon. Aside from Judas, they did so, even to their deaths. They did so with no probably’s in the view – they did so emphatically, faithfully, and uncompromisingly. Those dudes? They weren’t maybe’s any longer. They were Jesus honest. They showed Jesus love.
I don’t want to be a maybe either. When people interact with me, I don’t want them to have any question that Jesus is my Savior and lives in me – that He is the absolute center of my life. As I mentioned, we really just can no longer afford to shine dimly in this world – and really, could we ever? Haven’t we seen this with our very own eyes? People need to know, with no shadow of a doubt what we believe and why we believe it if we are followers of Jesus Christ. They need to know how badly we want to share this beautiful gift with them. They need to know He is alive, and that He loves them. They need to know they are invited. And they need to know with no doubt of any kind overshadowing that truth – that His love and the salvation He offers to us is the greatest gift of all.
It’s not even about what I believe in – it’s about who I believe in! We have to have the Spirit of God living within us to reflect that clearly and boldly to the world. No action on our part could ever do it brightly enough or could ever be adequate. So that means I can’t approach my personal walk with the Lord as a maybe either. I have seen enough to be fully convinced that the Spirit grows and grows and bursts forth only when we seek diligently, dedicate the time and energy to spending time with our Savior, and allow Him and seek for Him to grow us through our obedience and desire to know Him more and more each day.
So for me, maybe is definitely not where it’s at. I’m all the way in. I hope it shows to the world and the people I come into contact with each and every single day. I don’t want to be the dude who looks like I might be a follower of Christ at all. I want them to see Him in me in an unmistakable way. Because I want to show them Jesus love. I want to worship my Savior through this. I want for Him, through me, to bring glory to His name.
This dude – dude-ette? – She’s an emphatic and absolute “yes.” And “maybe” is a definite and total “NO”.
“So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner.
But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.” 2 Timothy 1:8
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is
faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
“Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day”. Psalm 96:2
**All images in this post used with permission from CreationSwap.com – no attribution required or desired.