This week’s devotions are based on the introduction week of “Explore God” (WATCH HERE)
As we remember this week the terror attacks on 9/11/01, memories not only turn to those who lost their lives in the planes or in the collapse of the buildings, but to the fire fighters, police and emergency personnel who lost their lives rushing into the buildings while everyone was rushing out.
It takes a special person to do this. It takes the ability to put fear aside for the sake or rescuing those that are themselves afraid, hurting or dying. The cause of bringing aid is bigger than the fear of personal harm.
9/11 magnified this attitude of not only the first responders of New York City, but those around our country whose greater fear is not helping someone in need versus not getting injured or killed themselves.
Is it too far of a stretch to say we need the same attitude when we seek to witness to our faith and give a reason for the hope we have?
Yes. We do.
Often what keeps our conversation silent and our words inside is a fear of how people will react to us, treat us, or view us. Our fear comes from how WE will be treated and that fear can keep us from doing anything.
But what happens when, like first responders, we stop fearing what is going to happen to us and rather fear what will happen to the person if we don’t say something or do something?
We have a firm belief in the reality that all who believe in Jesus are going to spend eternity with him. We also believe that all who do not believe in Jesus will spend an eternity apart from him in hell.
I don’t want someone to experience that. I want them to be rescued and enjoy life with Jesus.
So we must say something…regardless of what may happen to us personally. As children of God entrusted with the treasure of the Gospel, it is what we are here to bring to others.
We can’t control how others will react or treat us. We can control a) if we are prepared to give a reason for the hope we have and b) if we take the opportunity to share that hope when the opportunity comes.
The apostles were great examples of ones who set aside fear of personal harm and simply were compelled to speak of Jesus. Here’s one example early after Pentecost:
Acts 4:18 Then [the Sanhedrin] called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Pray for even a greater fearlessness than the NYPD and fire department, and with the Spirit’s help boldly speak of the hope we have in Jesus…the people hearing it need it!
Apply: Perhaps take a moment today and reflect on this question: When I think about witnessing about Jesus do I fear more what will happen to me more than what will happen to the person to whom I am speaking? Or the other way around?
Prayer: Spirit of God, give to each of us a fearless boldness to witness to the hope we have in Jesus!