“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” - Acts 4:13
“I am not smart enough.” “That is just not my gift.” “I need to get myself straight first.” “I preach the Gospel with my lifestyle.” These are all common excuses that Christians use for not sharing their faith with others. I am confident that most people reading this cannot say they will be persecuted or killed if they share the Gospel (although this does happen around the world). And yet, that is what the early Church faced each day – the threat of imprisonment and even death.
Where did their courage come from…and why are so many believers today lacking such boldness? Was there something special about the early disciples? Did they have access to some secret power or method that we do not? No, they did not. They were filled with the same Holy Spirit that Christians are today. And there are many disciples of Christ right now who are standing for the Gospel in very tough circumstances.
If you lack courage and boldness in sharing the Gospel I don’t want to lay a guilt trip on you, I want to encourage you. Take a look at Peter. It wasn’t too long before this incident that he denied he even knew Jesus not once, but three times. He wasn’t always the fiery disciple we see in this passage. He went from running scared to being martyred for the sake of the Gospel. There was nothing special about Peter…but there is something special about our God.
If we will let Him, He will transform even the most timid of Christians into bold witnesses of the Truth. We are all equipped to do His work. Sure, some are more gifted than others, but God has both called and equipped all of His followers to share His life-giving message. It is with His authority, not our own, that we can stand for Him no matter how hard it gets (Matthew 28:18).
And, like Peter, we can go from grace hoarders to grace givers. We can continue his legacy and say, with him, “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). All it takes is God’s power and a willing heart. The first He has promised to us, but the second is up to you.
Dear Father, So often I lack boldness in my faith. I need courage that only Your Spirit can give. Please help me to rely on Your power and not my own to speak the truth of Your Word with conviction and compassion. Make me an effective witness of the Gospel.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.