Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 1 Peter 3:13-14
There are those who perish every day for their faith, and many of them are Jesus followers. Perhaps one of the better books outlining past martyrs is Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. If you haven’t read this, I would highly recommend your reading it to understand more fully the suffering martyrs past and present have experienced. Their martyrdom came mostly by living and sharing their faith. Learning of their journey of suffering may leave you in awe. See if it doesn’t change your concept of persecution. I believe it will because it changed mine.
There are many reasons for fear in sharing your faith. Perhaps, like me, the fear of rejection causes hesitation or not sharing at all. My father-in-law used to do and say things that would cause me to cringe when we were at restaurants. There were times he’d actually walk into the kitchen to chat with the chef. Other times, he’d ask questions about getting something free or at a reduced rate. Whenever we would say something, he’d always reply with, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ Invariably, the answer was always ‘they might say no.’ It was amazing what he’d be able to get!
Why not do the same in sharing our faith? What’s the worst thing that can happen? According to Matthew 10:28, we could lose our lives but our souls remain intact in God’s hands. In reality, at least in most countries, asking to share your faith with someone in conversation is rarely turned away, sometimes taken as you’re truly and deeply caring for them. If they refuse, no matter. Their refusing the Gospel is held to their account, similar to the people who didn’t listen to the watchman’s warning (Ezekiel 33:1-5). And hope helps us understand it may still be that little seed sown in fertile soil to bloom one day.
Fear isn’t from the Lord. It’s in the Evil One’s tool kit, and it’s perhaps the most widely used instrument. As those times come along where you sense a voice prompting the sharing of your faith, but it’s drowned out by fear, pause for just a moment. As you pause, pray for courage, and invoke the name of Christ against the fear. In your prayerful moment, see if Christ doesn’t dispel your fear and increase your courage to share your faith!
By Rich Obrecht