The power of intimidation and fear of rejection have crippled believers through the ages. We become so fearful of being criticized, ostracized or left out, or made fun of, that we are willing to keep silent instead of speaking up for Christ and the Bible. When the restraints of Christian accountability are lifted and Christian friends surround you, it will be a time of testing, character-building and a realistic self-appraisal of our genuine commitment to Christ.
To a church in Smyrna Jesus sent a message, “Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. The devil is about to have some of you thrown into prison so you may be tested, and you will experience suffering… Remain faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown that is life itself” (Rev 2:10NET).
There are 400 references to fear in the Bible, both positive fear and negative. Paul wrote that “God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Tim 1:7). Any thought or motive that encourages fearfulness, weakness, selfishness or uninhibited impulsiveness does not come from God’s Spirit. God wants us to be bold and unashamed of His wisdom, His salvation, and His Name.
During an extremely difficult time in Zimbabwe, it was very risky to be identified as a Christian. A young unknown African pastor in 1990 was killed for his faith. Later investigations when to his house after he was martyred and found among his papers his sermons and journal. One of his papers included what has become one of the clearest declarations of true faithfulness to Christ ever written. Could you write and sincerely mean this pastor’s Commitment to the Fellowship of the Unashamed:
“I’m a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His and I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I’m done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power.
My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear.
I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He does come for His own, He’ll have no problems recognizing me. My colors will be clear!”
If Jesus comes soon, will He recognize your colors?