Yes, I'll admit to believing in and trying my darnedest to follow after Christ, but confessing what I really believe about what He asks of us in the Word? And telling others, no matter what they think, that Jesus is the only way to God and they are lost without Him? Now that has me shaking in my boots, or Crocs, since I tend to slip those on the most these days.
It's easy to confess these things to people who I have an inkling will agree with me. But when I know or suspect I'm in hostile territory, my stomach ties itself into knots and I worry that I might offend, or worse, be wrong (not about Jesus or His being the only way, but about some other theological points that cause us Christ-followers to fight against one another instead of together).
Worse still is my timidity at using His name in casual conversation, crediting Him with the many blessings He bestows and saying grace aloud and offering to pray for someone out of context and reading the Bible aloud in the presence of non-believers. (Note: I did this last thing last evening, queasiness aside, in the presence of my daughter's friend - her family aren't believers. As I read from Acts, I realized how shocking, how dangerous this Gospel can be what with talk of sexual immorality, beating people up, standing up for their belief in Jesus. Really, I'm surprised the Bible doesn't come with a PG-13 rating!)
But God, He keeps bringing me these examples of people who stand up for what they believe in - even at their own peril.
Like Paul. I'm currently going through a Bible study on Philippians and it's crazy because this guy is actually joyful despite being under guard and facing the strong possibility of death. And he's been beaten and locked up many times because he boldly proclaims what he believes. And he even has the nerve to tell them to follow his example (see Philippians 3:17 and 4:9). Could I do the same? Would I?
And then, on Sunday, we worshiped at my cousin's church. And the sermon was a presentation by a missionary family in China. They can talk about Jesus and share their beliefs, but under strict guidelines and rules. Could I do the same? Or would I chicken out and play it safe for fear I would step outside the rules and face punishment?
What is more, they shared a testimony about one of the young man whom they led to Christ. He married this year in China, and in a very publicly Christian ceremony, both he and his bride boldly proclaimed their testimony and beliefs to their guests. Something which probably fell outside Chinese guidelines according to the concern expressed the missionaries at doing so. Could I do the same? Would I chose take such a bold, perilous step on my wedding day?
Oh, that I could chose and would chose and really trust God as my firm foundation. What is more I need to see that His foundation remains firm even when the ground heaves and shakes beneath these quivering feet. Because faith. It's being sure of what I hope for and being certain of what I do not see (quip of Hebrews 11:1)
What about you? Are you able to confidently proclaim your beliefs? Or do you tend to back off in the face of opposition?