As we prayed about God’s agenda for us in 2019 we became aware that our biggest hindrance to effective evangelism is fear. In a survey I read recently, very few people said they didn’t feel equipped for evangelism rather the majority of people thought they were the problem. Fear of offending people, fear of not answering questions, fear of not being good at sharing, the list goes on. Personally, I’m aware that these fears cause me to hold back, get self-conscious and rarely step out bravely.
Wonderfully, God says a lot in our bibles about dealing with fear. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) . The way through fear is not waiting for it to be absent, rather it’s about trusting in God’s promises and goodness and running headlong through the fear.
Maybe God is using the feeling of fear to transform us into the people he’s calling us to be? The reason why we don’t want to go is often the reason God is asking us to go. The fear you feel is the nudge from God that he wants to transform you.
We change as God gives us his Spirit and fills us with courage. The Apostle Paul writes to his fearful apprentice Timothy, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). Just imagine what our church would be like if we all lived with greater freedom from timidity and overflowed with power, love and self-discipline.
So 2019 is a year to prayerfully ask God to give us all some courage.
Power in Weakness
At the same, we cannot all sit around waiting till we all feel brave enough! It’s also about realising that God wants to use us, with all our weaknesses and idiosyncrasies. The Apostle Paul says that Gods power is “made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). We are called to go and see God transform us as we go. He has called us to be witnesses to what we have seen and heard, not to what we don’t know. The key on our part is authenticity and obedience, not being evangelism experts. My prayer is that we grow in confidence that God wants to use each one of us to share Jesus with our friends and family, no matter how mature or immature we feel.
1. Take a moment to think about what stops you feeling free to share Jesus with people. Which of these apply to you?
- I simply don’t talk about Jesus much in relationships.
- I’ve got no non-Christian friends
- I fear some sort of loss (friendship, job, influence, respect, etc.)
- I lack confidence in the gospel
- I’m embarrassed to invite someone to our church service
- I’m fearful of offending people
- I don’t know what to say
2. What does this tell you about why God wants you to share your faith? What thoughts, fears and attitudes does he want to transform through the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1–2)?
Why not join me in asking God to make us more courageous?
Thank you for inviting me to share Jesus with people. I confess my fears and worries to you and ask that you would free me to live courageously.
The reason why we don’t want to go is the reason God is asking us to go.
Author: Matt Hatch