One day Martin Luther (this guy, not this guy though he's cool, too) got into the pulpit to preach a sermon to the Christians gathered in Wittenberg, Germany and this is part ofwhat he said, “I am sorry I ever freed you from the tyrants and papists. You ungrateful beasts, you are not worthy of the Gospel. If you don’t improve, I will stop preaching rather than cast pearls before swine!” (source) And Martin Luther was true to his word. He stopped preaching for nine months, almost a whole year. Could you imagine!What happened? What made him stop proclaiming God’s Word?
Well, it’s the same thing that can happen to all of us. We expect God’s Word to have this or that effect on people. We want them to rejoice with us that we have a Savior. We want them to welcome the gospel message. We want this message which is so precious to us, to be precious to others, too. And when it isn’t, we get discouraged. And, like Martin Luther, we may feel like giving up.
Perhaps the greatest enemy of faith is fear. Not only is it the opposite of faith, but it’s sneaky. We often make decisions on the basis of fear without even realizing it. We may not fly on airplanes. Why? Because we’re afraid it might crash. Yet we happily get into a car where the chances of injury or death are much greater. We avoid telling someone their breath stinks. Why? We don’t want to embarrass them. We’re afraid of making them feel bad. We sometimes don’t discipline our children. Why? We’re afraid of making them upset. Why did Luther stop preaching? He was afraid. He was afraid that God’s Word wasn’t working. He was afraid that he wasn’t doing a good enough job. And we do the same thing. Fear can fill up our life and motivate our decisions. And fear can cripple us so that we stop sharing Jesus.
What we need is a way we can get rid of the fear that so easily cripples our lives. We need a way we can live fearlessly. And that starts by realizing we’re a part of God’s plan and that God gives us courage.
The apostles show us the way in Acts 4, "On their release [from court], Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God...'Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness...' After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly."
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