In this Sunday’s episode of the “CONSPIRACY” series, one of the main story lines of Acts chapters 3 & 4 was the boldness of Peter and the other believers. (Thanks Chelsea for capturing that moment and posting it on Facebook.) When powerful forces threatened them- they kept telling everyone who would listen that Jesus was alive. When they were put in jail for preaching- they started preaching again as soon as they got out. They had courage. They were bold!
I ended Sunday by saying that we have so much less to fear than Peter and the early church when we share our faith with others. They faced imprisonment and death. We face someone at work laughing at us or someone at school calling us names. They faced torture. We face sarcastic comments on Facebook or twitter. It doesn’t seem like we have a lot to fear in comparison. Except for one thing.
One very important thing.
Many of us fear that in order to bold about our trust in Jesus, we’ll have to become a big fat jerk. We’ve all met them: The overly aggressive christian with a stack of religious pamphlets and an “answer” for everything. We’ve met the christian who inserts themselves in everyone else’s business, and seems to have a pointed scripture verse ready for any mistake…any sin…any error…except for maybe their own. We’ve all met judgmental jerks with precious few social skills but a seemingly endless supply of “boldness” when it comes to talking about the Bible…and it scares us to think that maybe being “bold” means to be “like that”.
Relax. Take a few seconds to read these words of advise and inspiration that the Apostle Peter…yeah that Peter…the bold preacher in the book of Acts…wrote in a letter to followers of Jesus. You don’t have to become an instant extrovert. You don’t have to become a street preacher. You definitely don’t have to become a big fat jerk to be BOLD about your faith in Jesus.
So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way.Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. -Peter
(1 Peter 3: 14b-16)