The Belmont Stakes is the last of the big three horse races held every year in America, the most recent being held four days ago. In this year’s event a horse named Justify won the Triple Crown, defined as winning all three races in the same year, a feat rarely done. As Justify crossed the finish line first, the jockey pointed his arms, hands, and head heavenward, obviously thanking God. Once in the winner’s circle, one of the owners of the horse also gave praise to God with his first words. Most Christians, like myself, love seeing those in the public eye give credit to God for success.
We celebrate these individuals because we know our Father should be and wants to be given the glory for what man accomplishes. Without such boldness the church would not have survived. We thank those before us, most of whose lives were threatened and many who gave their lives. The horse owner and jockey’s life were not at risk, yet they refused to fold to the pressures of our culture and stand for God. Peter said it perfectly when before the Sanhedrin a second time, in Acts 5:27-28, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he (member of Sanhedrin) said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!”
Let me first tell you how short I have fallen regarding witnessing. Over the last year, I have witnessed to more people than I did over all of my previous twenty-two years as a Christian. Pretty sad. If you fall short as well and know it, THAT IS GOOD. By knowing it and not denying it, you can take action to fix it. Shed any feeling of guilt and commit to making an effort to reflect on your shortcoming and find motivation to strive to do better (see my story below).
Also, if you are certain of your relationship with Jesus Christ, know He is in your heart and he is your Lord that you have given your life to, yet you fall short in witnessing, your place in heaven remains secure. We will have to account for our lack of witnessing when we see Jesus. Fortunately, he understands our weaknesses and knows that some people’s souls and gifts are such that it is extremely difficult to speak to someone about Jesus. What He wants is to SEE YOU NEVER STOP trying and seek opportunites.
So how are we doing in telling others the good news? Unfortunately, for a vast majority, the answer is “poorly.” Christians, as I did for years, find it easy to hide and speak to each other about our faith, which is a worthy thing. But let’s be honest – that is easy. We are with familiar people and know we share the same faith. In the big picture, however, we are speaking to the wrong audience. We are talking with a group who already knows their promised eternal destiny. It’s the millions who have no clue what death will bring that we need to be speaking with.
What most of us are doing today is pointed out in Matthew 5:15 where we read Jesus’ words, “15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” Most of us know instinctively we must get better at witnessing. Today there is an anti-Christian culture that wants to crush us. We are not past a point of no return, we just need to be bold. In fact, there is never a point of no return when it comes to Jesus. So, do we simply pray for revival and sit back and count on Jesus? I think not. The prayer is good, but we must remember we are Christ’s ambassadors on this earth and he has called us to reach out to the world, which could simply be your neighborhood or workplace. Consider these scary statistics. Just 49% of proclaimed Christians do not know what the “Great Commission” is. Less than 2% of proclaimed Christians actively, being virtually every day, express their faith to someone and witness regarding the good news. Jesus was well aware of this problem even in His time when He speaks in Matthew 9:37, “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.’” Unfortunately, it remains true today. Those needing to hear the Gospel are many, but those working to spread it are few.
How can that be? We know what our job is. We know the need is huge. Yet we fail miserably, and that includes me. We must take on the task of becoming an ambassador. Let’s ponder “why we do so poorly?” The primary answer, in my opinion, is fear. Especially in our culture today, we are afraid the other person may think, “oh my, another one of those radical “wacko” Christians.” We fear how they will react toward us and that they may not respond to the message at all. Why fear how they will think of you. Only care how God thinks of you. Do not worry about how they respond to the message. That is the job of the Holy Spirit, not yours. We do not bring people to Christ, the Holy Spirit does. We simply plants seeds that the Holy Spirit can water. And it may be the twelfth person that speaks to someone when a seed takes root. When we think of approaching someone, we may actually experience fear, with the underlying cause it being a threat to our “certainty and security,” basic human needs. But this can be overcome.
I highly recommend trying to develop this frame of mind when it comes to reaching out to others about Jesus. It certainly worked for me and is worth trying:
This approach applies to any age person, for none of us know what tomorrow will bring. Let’s assume there is a person we know, and there are many strong reasons to believe they do not know Jesus (although we never know). We have two options. First, we can overcome the fear of speaking to them by trusting God. Or, we can let the fear and uncertainty win and walk away. Now, let’s look at what just happened and what was at stake. You are a Christian, heaven-bound, with a certain eternity. The person you considered approaching is likely lost. Should you or no one else ever approach them, or they die tomorrow, they may never have had the chance to accept Jesus. To put more blatantly, how would you feel if you thought about speaking to someone, decided not to, and then read their obituary the next day? This may seem extreme, but it has actually happened to me.
When we put the two options on a scale, we are giving FEAR way too much weight in a decision that could have eternal consequences. We have no reason to fear because God has promised, “He would be with us.” We have all the reason to care about the eternal future of all people on this earth. It’s time to get going.
Today witnessing boldly is so important because there is a war, currently underway, between our culture and the church. We must find ways to fight in this war and become better at fighting. How we do that will be addressed in our next commentary.
May God bless you,
P.S. (Prayer Suggestion) If you haven’t already, embrace Jesus today. Pray to Him, with a burdened heart, confessing you are a sinner and asking Him to forgive you of those sins. Tell Him, with His help, you will turn away from those sins and seek to be more like Him. Lastly, ask Jesus to come into your heart and give Him control of your life. Amen (if you prayed from your heart, you are now a child of God and your destiny is Heaven)