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- “And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.” — Acts 4:31 (NASB)
- “Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.” — Proverbs 16:3 (NCV)
- “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” — John 8:11 (NIV)
GOD CALLS US TO BE BOLD IN SHARING OUR FAITH.
We know this because the Bible is filled with Divine admonitions to walk in faith, to speak with gentleness, be slow to anger, be ready at all times to explain the joy that is in our hearts, love and forgive others, and store up our treasures in Heaven, where the moths won’t destroy it and thieves won’t take it away.
Yes, we can recite those commandments, but what do they look like in our everyday lives?
After all, we live in a darkened world were even the most ardent church-goers will remind us not to “push” our religion onto people or judge their sin pattern.
RECENTLY, I ENGAGED IN TWITTER in support of Vice President and Mrs. Pence, both of whom are strong Bible-believing Christians unashamed of their faith. My tweet also thanked the Rev. Franklin Graham for his tireless defense of the Gospel and his support of the countr’s Second Couple.
Naturally, response from the Twitter-verse was swift. Most of the responses were favorable — a series of similar comment, “likes”, and some repostings. However, there always is the nay sayers who become personal in their denunciations of my tweets, referencing the Bible as “fiction,” and being relentless in their assaults. They’re like yappy little dogs who grab your pant leg and won’t let go.
All of this raises questions in my mind as to how a committed Christian should respond:
- Counter every negative response,
- Ask a question in return, exposing the commenters’ lack of faith, or
- Ignore all of it after posting the original tweet.
FORTUNATELY, I TRIED TO STAY IN PRAYER and live out the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I figured if I maintained patience and prayed for wisdom – all of which the Bible counsels us to do – God’s Spirit would reveal a better response on my part than I would come up with given my initial instinct.
The Spirit revealed to me that I should act with the same grace and mercy that Jesus displayed in John 8, when He was confronted with a woman the Jewish elders had *caught* in the act of adultery. Jewish law said that adulterers – both the male and the female – were to be stoned for their transgression, yet the elders only presented the female for Jesus’ rebuke.
Instead, our Lord showed grace, wanting to save a lost soul – the wanton woman’s – over meting out justice. Perhaps He was swayed by the elders’ failure to produce the male culprit and saw the trap for what it was. Until we’re in glory, we’re unlikely to know what it was He wrote in the dust with His finger, but it could have been the entire citation in Leviticus 20:10 that condemned *both* parties, not just the more vulnerable one.
IN THE END, that’s what I decided to do: Find a way in each of my comments to model grace rather than unleash my rapier-like retorts designed to draw the commenters’ blood.
Being bold for the Gospel clearly required showing grace and mercy and trying, as best I could, to direct the adversary’s thoughts toward the Holy Word of God.
Let His light be the judge of our conversation. Let His grace cover the commenters’ sinful/hurtful thoughts. Let His love turn the commenters’ heart from stone to flesh.
Being bold for the Gospel does not mean that I am taking the authoritative position that Jesus took in His ministry. He is divine and human; I am only human.
Being bold for the Gospel, for me, means turning the other person’s attention over to the Messiah.
Isn’t that what Paul advised us to do in 1 Corinthians 3:6 (NLT)?
“I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.”
Our Heavenly Father, we rejoice that You have been so good to us, showering Your grace, Your mercy, Your forgiveness, and Your love on us, even though we, in our sin, do not deserve anything but Your judgment and wrath. Quicken our hearts, O Lord, to seek after You and Your truth and then display that truth in our actions and words with those You place in our lives. Lord, bless those who persecute us. Claim their lives for righteousness. Claim them for Yourself. In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN
Questions for Personal Meditation or Small Group Discussion:
1) How do you envision being bold for the Gospel? Does God call you to witness to others about your faith? If not, why do you suppose that is? Have you taken the Gospel into your heart in a personal way, or have you been content simply with listening to the message of love and hope and assuming that was enough?
2) When you witness for the Gospel, what techniques or practices work best for you? What don’t work? Do you rely on God’s Holy Spirit to guide you, or do you handle this by yourself under your own power? Have you seen a different result between those approaches? Why do you think relying on God’s power over yours leads to a better outcome?
3) Do you consider it a privilege to witness for the Lord Jesus in your personal life? Or, do you see His command to be His witnesses to be a burden that needlessly complicates your life and is best left to the professionals, however you define them?
4) Do you think your response — consider it a privilege versus a burden — may reflect your own relationship to the Lord? If you see witnessing as a burden, could you pray today for the Lord to lift that burden and fill your heart with the grace necessary to share His Gospel?
Would you like us at LoveAndGrace to pray for you? If so, please indicate in the Comment field. God bless!