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Have you ever held back from doing something you knew to be right? If that is true in your own experience, be encouraged to learn that you are not alone.
Some people find witnessing for Christ extremely challenging. Many times, we know the right thing to do, but very often we allow fear and doubt to come into our mind allowing it to bind us. Because of this, we can become fearful of what people might say, or what people might think so that we let fear shut us up and stop us from sharing the good news.
When it comes to situations like this, we must remember the very encouraging scripture that reminds us, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Philippians 4:13
But what happens when we know the right thing to do, yet we allow ourselves to become frozen by fear. At times like these, it is quite common for us to experience feelings of guilt and disappointment. Having the horrible feeling of letting God down through our weakness and disobedience.
Consider this scripture in relation to holding back for witnessing. “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them” James 4:17
The feelings we have in situations like this relates to what is known in psychology as cognitive dissonance. In simple terms, it relates to a situation involving beliefs, behaviours and even our attitudes. If when we know we should have done something but held back from what we knew to be the right thing, the feelings and emotions we experience can end up producing feelings of discomfort.
The good news is that when this happens it can lead to an alteration in our attitudes, beliefs or behaviours. This happens because we want to reduce the discomfort we feel and restore balance.
An example of this would be a person who smokes cigarettes (behaviour). They understand smoking has proven to be a cause of serious illness (cognition/cognitive). As a result, there is an imbalance of attitudes and beliefs and behaviour. In other words, knowing what you should do, but doing something else.
It is of great comfort to know that even the apostle Paul experienced challenges in his own life that involved not doing what he knew to be right. “What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise”. Romans 7:15 The Message
We know that God’s word is truth and it is infallible. It is both living and active possessing immense power. Scriptures make this clear. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.”.
Bearing this in mind it is important to realise this when it comes to the scripture that said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
If we believe this, it means that the fear of witnessing can be overcome through the word of God. Part of this will also involve relying on the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Through Him, we can do all things, we can overcome our fears and the feelings of the guilt we experience.
So then, what do we do when we have fear in our hearts which stops us from doing what we know to be the right thing? Sharing the gospel with people that don’t know Jesus is, without doubt, a great thing because if everyone needs Jesus. What can help us do something scared? What can help us to both switch on and activate our faith so we can witness for Christ effectively?
We need to come to the point where we believe that scripture applies to our own lives. You will have appropriated a piece of scripture at some time in your life. No doubt you have either read or heard scripture in the past and thought to yourself that it applied directly to you. In that moment it is as if the word of God has come alive and in your own experience.
At the time, you may have even said something like, “I believe that I can do this”. It is in moments like these that our faith becomes activated through reading or hearing the living and active word of God. It really is a miracle when God speaks to our hearts so clearly.
We know that to be true because of the well-known verse, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10: 17
I read recently with regard to this scripture that God’s Word not only tells us what to do, but also gives us the power to do it. Added to that, it increases our faith as we do it.
Based upon that, can apply this powering statement to many scriptures in the Bible. An obvious one that relates to the command we are given by Jesus to witness would be, “Go and preach the gospel to all”. Mark 16: 15
There is a well-known expression that says, it is easier said than done. The truth is, that this often used phrase really does not need to apply to us. We have great examples in scripture, the word of God that is alive and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who will always help us when we step out in faith.
When we believe scripture and act upon it, we can do great exploits for the Lord!