We are opposed in our efforts to do the work of evangelism. And while fear is part of that opposition, boldness and courage are the tonic to help us overcome the fear that can debilitate our efforts in reaching out to the lost.
Two keys to acquiring boldness & courage in the spiritual I want us to ponder are preparation and perspective.
Preparation first involves prayer. While prayer needs little explanation, it requires much doing! After healing a lame man and preaching the gospel at the Temple in Acts 3, Peter and John are arrested in Acts 4. They are interrogated by the Sanhedrin and commanded to not speak in Jesus name again. After saying that they must speak in Jesus’ name, Peter and John are released under great threats. And what do they do? They join the believers and simply pray for boldness. In verse 29, they pray, “Now, Lord look on their threats, and grant your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word.”
They got their answer.
“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke the word with great boldness” (Acts 4:31).
The threats didn’t change. The risk didn’t change. They simply prayed for boldness and boldness they received.
And just a tidbit from that passage I think remarkable: in Acts 4:13, we read, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”
In the area of personal evangelism, do you feel unqualified? Are you uneducated and untrained? Good, you’ll do just fine. Spend time with Jesus as did the disciples, for there is no overemphasizing the power of prayer and time in the Word.
Preparation also involves readiness. 1 Peter 3:15 states, “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” Readiness includes many things, including an understanding of the gospel and an understanding our own life story, otherwise known as our testimony.
To better understand the gospel see my blog entitled What is our Message?. To help you better understand, prepare, and share your testimony, click here to see a section from my upcoming book on personal evangelism called Serving in His Court.
Another key to acquiring boldness and courage to engage the evangelistic process is perspective. And one perspective I want to highlight is this: their salvation is more important than my safety! Now if I were to ask you if you agree with that statement in principle, I believe most of you would agree with no struggle. Yet, the struggle comes when God calls us to live out that principle… and it looks different for each of us.
I have people in my life who’ve not yet met Jesus. And I know God has strategically placed me to be salt and light to them. I feel compelled to pray for their salvation, regularly. But I also believe God is calling me to develop relationships, living out that biblical perspective even if it’s risky and causes me to step out of my comfort zones.
People need the Lord and God calls you and I to be His ministers of reconciliation. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17), for people must hear the gospel message in order to come to faith. And who does God send to deliver that message? You and me.
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher” (Romans 10:14)?
Preparation and perspective – two simple yet powerful keys to acquiring the boldness and courage we need to be the witnesses God calls us to be. For people need the Lord!