For many years, I let the fear of what others think keep me a prisoner. I was too shy to break those bonds and freely speak up.
Lately, I've been writing that coming into your fifties is wonderful because you have finally shook off those fears and are willing to be who you are. Who cares if people don't like what you say?
It's a free country ... isn't it?
Paul didn't have the luxury of free speech. People took exception to what he had to say. In fact, they hated his message so much, they tried to beat the messenger to death. Sometimes, he got put into prison for his speeches.
But that didn't happen at Corinth.
Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”
Paul kept on preaching and won Gentiles and even the Jewish leader of the synagogue to Christ. The other Jews tried to imprison him but the authorities didn't want to mess with religious cases and threw it out of court.
Paul had favor and had no reason to fear. The Lord said no one would attack him to hurt him. When God tells you that you can depend on it.
Am I saying that if you preach Jesus you will never suffer harm? No. We all know that we live in a sinful world that mistreats Christ-followers. But if God says you won't be harmed, you won't.
I was thinking about this and remembered my pastor's wife, Ellen Hart, who sang the song, I'll Tell the World that I'm a Christian, back in the day when I was a teenager: I looked for the song on YouTube and found this sweet little a capella version:
What about you? Are you afraid to speak up and tell the world you are a Christian? Do you think we have reason to fear identifying with Christ?
How about speaking up when you believe God is directing you to do something unpopular? Something you believe is biblical but the Christian community doesn't see it the same way you do? Knowing that sometimes the family of God wounds its own?
In the end, what matters most is fulfilling what Christ has called you to do. If He asks you to share a controversial message, be it among pagans or fellow pilgrims, you must speak up. It will be like a "fire shut up in your bones" until you do!
I'm sharing this at the #TellHisStory community at JenniferDukesLee.com because I believe it is everyone's duty to speak up and share the story.
I'm also tagging this as one of my Fearless posts because I believe when He directs you to speak, He will take away the fear.