“That night the Lord appeared to Paul and said, ‘Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well.’”Acts 23:11
It must have been scary for Paul to stand before the Jerusalem Council to talk about his missionary work. These leaders had the power to severely punish Paul. There were plenty of reasons for Paul to be quiet regarding his faith.
If he stayed quiet he probably would have been released by the Council.
If he shared about his faith severe consequences were certain.
One would understand if Paul chose to be quiet.
But as we have seen so far in our study of Acts Paul is not afraid to share his faith story. Not sharing was not an option for him.
Why was Paul so confident in the face of certain peril?
Paul knew without a doubt that God was him in all circumstances. Paul did not have to fear being alone as he shared the Gospel. God promised the Holy Spirit be with him always. Paul taught the people in Rome this lesson when he wrote:
“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)
These words are true for us today. We do not need to be afraid when we share our faiths. The Holy Spirit is with us always as the Spirit was with Paul.
It is scary to put one’s self out there. Sharing one’s faith is inviting another to a part of our lives. It is opening up in a way that feels vulnerable. Rejection can happen.
Have courage, follower of Jesus!
As you share the reason why you love Jesus be assured that the Holy Spirit gives you the courage to share and the words to speak. It is not your responsibility to change another’s heart. That is what God does. You have the duty to tell your story.
As we have been studying Paul’s journeys we have witnessed his courage in many circumstances. He has taught us to bravely step forward in faith. We witnessed how to share our stories in loving ways that help others begin his/her own faith journeys with Jesus Christ.
Courageous storytelling comes not from our inner strength but from God alone. As we grow in our faiths, learning to trust God more and more, we grow in courage. The more experiences we have in telling our stories the more we learn that God protects us.
ReSolved disciples, grow in courage as you go out as storytellers.
Listen to the Holy Spirit guiding you to the when & how to share your story. Practice with fellow disciples to gain more courage. Pray over one another before you go out to share in word and action. Continue praying for renewed courage when you apart.
Use these words that God spoke over Joshua before he led the Israelites into the Promised Land:
“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
This Week’s Challenge
Make a list of any & all fears you have about sharing your faith. Then pray to God to take all of them away replacing it with courage.