February 16th

Fear of Sharing Jesus 

42 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. John 12:42-43 NKJV 

Loving the praise of men can prevent us from giving God his due praise.  The rulers in this story believed in Jesus, yet stopped short of openly confessing him among the people. They were afraid of losing the prestige and approval of the synagogue.  It was a very serious thing to be put out of the synagogue, and the rulersí decision to stay quiet about Jesus reflected their true heart condition. They loved manís approval more than Godís approval. 

I wonder how many people today allow fear to keep them from openly talking about Jesus. I let fear keep me silent for a long time.  I did not want to jeopardize my position in the company and chances for promotion.  I didnít want my neighbors to think I was a ďJesus freak.Ē  Itís ironic that Jesus laid down his life for me, yet I was worried what people would think if I talked about him openly.  When I finally started getting real with people and telling them how Jesus had healed me from sex addiction, I discovered some great things:

1)      People didnít reject me, but rather, saw me as someone that they could relate to and share their struggles with

2)      People supported me in my courage to be vulnerable with them

3)      My job performance improved and so did my compensation!  

Looking back, Iím wondering what I was so afraid of.  Obviously, we should be careful whom we tell and how much we say, using wisdom from the Holy Spirit.  However, we shouldnít let caution become a shelter for fear.  Keep in mind the sobering warnings Jesus gave his disciples:  

26If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.  Luke 9:26 NIV 

"Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.Ē Matthew 10:32 NIV 

Sharing my secret struggle and victory in Jesus was the best thing that I did.  The power of secrecy and fear was broken, and the devil could not jab me with it any longer.  Whatever your situation is, I encourage you to talk about what Jesus is doing in your life.  If Jesusí followers are not talking about what he is doing, people are more likely to think Jesus died 2000 years ago and that was the end of the story.  Take the risk of letting people in on whatís going on in your life and step out in faith that Jesus Christ really is with you.  Jesus is alive! 

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

ďLord Jesus, Thank you for enduring the pain, shame, abuse, ridicule and death on the cross for me.  Please forgive me for dishonoring you, Jesus, in so many ways.  Please forgive me for allowing fear of man to keep my mouth shut about you.  Thank you, Jesus.  Please now give me boldness and wisdom to speak about you to those people in my life. Please lead me by your Spirit.  For you have not given me a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind.  Thank you, Jesus! In your name I pray, Amen.Ē