Sometimes the best choices are the hardest to make. Sometimes wisdom appears foolish and faith fanatical. As a young mother striving to live for Jesus, I quickly learned just how contrary the things of God can appear to some.
When I chose to stay home, some deemed me lazy.
When I attempted to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance and guard our daughter’s influences, I was accused of sheltering her. I was told my actions would ultimately harm her and leave her maladjusted.
My attempts to explain, or perhaps more accurately, to defend my choice, didn’t help. My discussion of God’s leading—of His gentle voice, spoken softly yet clearly to my heart—and the deep assurance that followed made no sense to those who had never heard Him or hadn’t learned to discern His voice.
Perhaps some even found me delusional:
“She claims to hear from God,” they say, with a raised eyebrow and slight smirk. “Does she talk to the Easter Bunny too?”
Over time, I learned to be a little more cautious regarding what I shared and with whom. And honestly, I hate that. I hate that I so often allow other people’s opinions to hold me back. I wish, like Paul, I could boldly and consistently say, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes …” (Romans 1:16, ESV) and then back this up with my actions.
I’ve been ridiculed by my peers. He’d been imprisoned for his faith. I’d stood against cultural opposition to raise our daughter. He stood against the religious elite and angry mobs. I’ve been excluded from certain groups due to my “passion for Jesus”, but he’d been smuggled out of Berea in order to save his life.
There’s a lot of reasons I could give for why, at times, sharing the gospel makes my stomach knot and my palms get sweaty, and yet, in each instance, it comes down to this—whenever I stifle God’s message within, I’m putting my pride above someone else’s salvation.
When I look at it that way, my concerns and fears seem petty at best.
I imagine Paul felt as I have, on many occasions. Otherwise why the need to make such a bold and declarative statement—for I am not ashamed. Unless maybe he’d been tempted to feel ashamed in the past—perhaps when mobs of angry people shook their fists at him, spit on him, and hurled stones at him. Or perhaps others, maybe even believers in Rome, had demonstrated that they were ashamed of him. Or maybe he was simply stating a fact with all the courage the Holy Spirit allowed—I am not ashamed! No matter what others say, no matter how foolish or irrational my words appeared, I choose to speak life.
Even if it costs me mine.
Lord, help me have that same confidence Paul demonstrated again and again, regardless how others respond or how unpopular Your message appears. Because life’s too short and there’s too much at stake for any of Your children to remain silent.
Life’s much too short and Your love for the broken too strong for any of us, Your mouthpieces, to live afraid.
To the contrary! As ambassadors of the sovereign King, we can walk into any and every situation with our heads held high, our voices sure, and our message clear: “I am not ashamed, and I refuse to be, because the words I speak have power and life.”
Let’s talk about this! When has obedience caused you to look foolish in the moment or left you misunderstood? How did you gain the courage to step forward in faith? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage each other. And make sure to engage with us on Facebook and Instagram where we post daily snippets of encouragement!