We see it the Bible. In Ecclesiastes 12:5, the passage describes people as they age. “They are afraid of heights and dangers in the streets.” The more we watch FOX news (and I watch it too!), the more we get upset and realize that the Lord is coming soon! Amen, but are we allowing the world to build fear in our lives?
I see it in others. They are not going to the ocean this year or traveling in planes or doing foreign travel or even going somewhere alone—especially after dark. And they worry about all their family members with an unhealthy concern.
I see it in me at times as well. Do I bow my head and thank God for the food at the lunch counter? Will the people think I am weird? Do I pull out a Bible on the plane? Am I afraid of what people would say if I say I am a follower of Jesus? Sometimes I am too quiet around people who are not believers.
Young people are taught that Christians are to keep quiet! The society wants everyone to be tolerant. And the world’s definition of tolerance is that we are all to be silent about anything that might offend another person. We are urged never to voice another opinion, even if it is done in love. That is not my definition of tolerance! The world’s definition of tolerance is causing people to be intimidated by others. Where is the God-talk? Where are people using words like “Bible,” “church,” “pray,” “Lord” or even connections to what we believe? As a result, we are becoming fearful of sharing Christ or praying with people or inviting them to church or saying we are reading the Bible or even connecting with the Lord.
Even in the Old Testament the people of God were told to “be strong and courageous and not be terrified.”
Today’s world requires RISK. I recently talked to a young medical doctor who was staying at Urban Hope in Philadelphia for a month. He is from the country of Albania. His family is Muslim and he is the only one in his family who is a believer! He told of losing people to ISIS in his country and that his non-believing dad has never said he is proud of his son or that he is loved. He is made to feel that he is not welcome because of his faith in Christ! And yet he is working so hard to share Jesus with his family. He is not afraid to represent Jesus lovingly in a country that has ISIS in its back yard. He is a RISK-TAKER for Jesus! I need to be more like that.
Did we forget why we are here? Francis Chan wrote in his book, You and Me Forever (a tremendous book that explains how many believers are placing marriage and family ahead of God) that in a marathon, the runners pace themselves so that they can give everything just before they hit the finish line.
Why are we not doing that as believers? We give most of our ministries and risk-taking when we are young (at the beginning of the race). Then there is marriage and family and career. We lose our focus. As we age we slow down more and more—to a snail’s pace and almost forget that we are in a race at all.
No! We must run the race and we cannot stop taking risks as we get older. We must be even bolder so that we can finish and fall into the arms of the ONE who loves us and saved us from sin!
Luke 9:24: “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it!” — by Ed Lewis
This post comes from Ed Lewis, executive director of CE National, who spoke at Flinch Conference last month. See the original post on the Flinch Conference blog. Next year’s Vision Conference, Margins, will be held in Toronto, Ontario.