When the thought of witnessing Christ to others, we have a tendency to shrink back in fear. We easily succumb to our sinful flesh. To combat fear, we are given a solution in God’s Word. One of those solutions is to exercise our faith.
The Apostle Paul encourages us to “work out our salvation” (Phil. 2:11) by also stating in verse 13, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”
One of the glories of the Gospel is the new relationship we have with God through Christ. We no longer fear, based on what we have done or not done (sin), but we love and trust, based on what God has done for us. We are forgiven. We are perfect and acceptable children in his sight.
Our new relationship with God overcomes the bondage caused by the chains of fear.
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).” The perfect love we receive from Christ drives out all fear (1 John 4:18). So, when God expresses his desire in Scripture for us to carry out a task like witnessing, our new response in Christ is not one of fear or reluctant obedience, but an attitude of the heart based on love for our Savior.
When we are carrying out God’s purpose of sharing the true gospel of salvation; when we are regularly exercising our salvation with “fear and trembling”, there becomes within us a singleness of purpose in response to God’s grace. This is the Holy Spirit working in us. With God’s purpose in our heart and soul, there becomes a sense of adventure and a greater meaning in our lives. Not only is God being glorified by our words and actions, but the Holy Spirit transforms us into a new person and an effective messenger of grace.
There is power in the message
In my years of being a cross-cultural missionary, I am recognizing something more the Lord provides for us. Not only does God provide the message and the willingness to serve, but the Lord also gives us unique opportunities to be His witnesses. The Apostle Paul realized this truth when he recognized how doors were being opened by God’s hand to share the Gospel (1 Cor. 16:9). Paul also says, “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” (Colossians 4:5) This verse suggests a correlation between taking advantage of opportunities the Lord gives us and creating opportunities through our words and actions. With a spirit of adventure and new-founded purpose, we “go” out into the world. We interact with “outsiders” and allow the Lord to give us those unique opportunities to witness. Together, with the Holy Spirit, we deliver the Good News with confidence that the Word works and the Lord has prepared those hearts in advance.
Even though it is God who gives us the message and the opportunities, I still wish it were much easier. I wish that every time I shared the gospel the person would respond positively. I wish I didn’t get discouraged so easily. The Apostle Paul knew that God was the cause of all miracles of faith. His confidence rested on the simple, yet powerful message of Christ’s death and resurrection, not on himself.
Sharing God’s Word is not natural for any of us. It is quite unnatural. Like riding a bike for the first time, we are a bit shaky at first. Yet, over time, riding a bike becomes quite natural and something we never forget. With full knowledge and assurance that we have been chosen to be God’s instruments in carrying out his message, we respond with love, thanksgiving and a sense of willingness to be used by God. The Lord takes our willingness and provides opportunities specifically designed for us. A faithful servant has the confidence in knowing that God will provide everything we need to carry out His work. He provides the talent (however big or small), the message, the opportunities, and even the courage. Faithfulness becomes far more important than accomplishment, for the Lord is in control of results.
Continue to study God’s Word. Go and establish relationships of trust with unbelievers. Pray for opportunities to share God’s Word and be prepared to speak the truth in love with the sincere hope and trust you have in Jesus. At just the right time, at just the right place, God will use you. God is Immanuel. He is with us. His Word always works even though we may never see the results.