Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fear Not, Part 1

Acts 18:9  Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:

"Be not afraid" or "Fear not."  The concept of not needing to be afraid runs throughout the entire Bible.  And it's one of God's main points to us as believers.  Look at the verse above.  That's one of the times when Paul encountered the Lord in person.  Here was one of the most feared killers of Christians, suddenly he had been humbled, suddenly he had his spiritual eyes opened.  Now, he was traveling as a missionary for Christ.  Perhaps there were less spiritual Christians who weren't sure of Paul's conversion and maybe were willing to kill him for self preservation.  There were definitely Jews willing to take Paul's place as a Christian killer, only now Paul was a potential target. Yes, Paul had some protection because of his lineage in the Jewish community and because he was a Roman citizen.  But I think Paul realized that, if there was someone as zealous as he had been, those things might not be much protection.

On top of everything going on around him, Paul had to go from the despair of knowing how spiritually weak and inadequate he was, describing himself as, "O wretched man that I am!" in Romans 7:24a to saying: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." in Romans 8:28-29.  And it took a vision of Christ to help him move along the right path.  And then, there's us.

Jon Acuff was asked how to be funny.  He said, “The secret to being funny is the willingness to be unfunny a whole lot.”  And he continued, "You simply have to have the courage to say 100 unfunny things before you stumble on 1 funny one."  As Jon pointed out in the rest of that discussion, that applies to anything.  In most cases, we can live our Christian faith without fear of torture or death.  Yet, how often we may be less than completely open about our faith and convictions.  Uncomfortable with what others might think of us, afraid of some level of ridicule.  Perhaps afraid of what some stranger will think of us, as we share the Gospel.  But, when that one individual recognizes and accepts Truth, just like Jon Acuff's "100 unfunny things", the multitude of rejections are meaningless in the light of the joy of one salvation. "Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:".

More next time.  Don't forget the Easter play (details in the previous post).  Pray for salvations.  And don't forget to pray for Libby.

No comments:

Post a Comment