14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. — 1 Peter 3:14 NLT
We are all guilty! We have felt that gentle nudge from God’s Spirit and said nothing, we have heard that soft quiet voice and still we did nothing! The King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe has issued the command to go and spread the gospel to all of us. (Ref. Matt 28:19, 20) And in individual situations, He has asked us to speak out and invite others into His Kingdom. Why don’t we speak out? Are we afraid that our friends and acquaintances will mock us, make fun of us, reject us? Always remember this, they did the same to Jesus and we are not greater than our Creator. But the most important thing to remember is that it isn’t us they are rejecting, it is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We are going to suffer in this world, and as Peter tells us, it is better to suffer for doing good, than for doing evil.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.
28 If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.” — Proverbs 3:27, 28 NLT
Have you ever had this happen to you? You are in a public place and you see someone and suddenly you have this strange notion that you should speak to them. You don’t know this person, you may or may not have seen them somewhere before. You think about speaking but you turn and walk away. But minutes later, you come face to face with this same person and you feel that nudge to speak to them. Looking at them, you can discern no particular need, but the urge to speak to them lingers. No, I just don’t have time to engage anyone in conversation right now or he/she probably doesn’t have time or doesn’t want to be bothered is what we think. So, we turn and we walk away. If this should happen to you today or at anytime in the future, let me encourage you to just stop and simply say “Hello, how are you doing today?” and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit from that point on. You might well be surprised at the blessing both of you will receive from that simple start. We have to understand that the command to “go and make disciples” is a constant command and Jesus would not have told us to “go and make” if He wasn’t going to give each of us an opportunity to do just that. Going and making disciples starts with our next encounter with any person. Just follow the example of Jesus who “went about doing good”.
37 Though Jesus had done many miracles in front of the people, they still did not believe in him. 38 This was to bring about what Isaiah the prophet had said: “Lord, who believed what we told them? Who saw the Lord’s power in this?” 39 This is why the people could not believe: Isaiah also had said, 40 “He has blinded their eyes, and he has closed their minds. Otherwise they would see with their eyes and understand in their minds and come back to me and be healed.” 41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him. 42 But many believed in Jesus, even many of the leaders. But because of the Pharisees, they did not say they believed in him for fear they would be put out of the synagogue. 43 They loved praise from people more than praise from God.—John 12:37-43 (NCV)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Isaiah had prophesied many years earlier that the people would not believe or receive Jesus. Because their traditions and praise from men had come to mean more to them than God’s law and God’s approval, God had chosen to blind their spiritual eyes and close their minds to spiritual understanding. Many of the people did believe in Jesus but were afraid to say so. They were fearful that they would be put out of the synagouge. If this happened they would be ridiculed and treated as outcasts in the villages. Their fleshly desires outweighed their faith that Jesus was who He said He was. Jesus had told the people earlier that they would have to confess Him before men.
32 “All those who stand before others and say they believe in me, I will say before my Father in heaven that they belong to me. 33 But all who stand before others and say they do not believe in me, I will say before my Father in heaven that they do not belong to me.—Matt. 10:32, 33 (NCV)
How many of us have felt that little nudge from the Holy Spirit to speak out but we have remained silent? We were afraid of being ridiculed by society and our flesh wanted acceptance from our little clique. How did you feel after that happened? Guilty? Don’t let satan beat you up because you failed. We can take a lesson from Peter. If we feel condemnation, it is from satan. If we feel conviction, it is from the Holy Spirit.
1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.–Romans 8:1 (NLT)
God is still in the forgiving business no matter how many times we fail Him.
8 If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done.—1 John 1:8, 9 (NCV)