May 2, 2014
Authority and Humility
By Skip Heitzig
Here’s a sad fact: Jesus Christ died on a cross 2,000 years ago for our salvation and a huge part of the world still hasn’t heard that news.
Jesus spoke of those who hide their light under a bushel: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). And Peter said, “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
The number one requirement for effectively sharing our hope is to speak out with authority—and the Word of God is our authority.
A journalist once explained that Billy Graham was so effective in proclaiming the gospel because he “preaches what the Bible says. He has a note of authority in his message.”
That ring of authority is what the prophets had. The phrase “thus saith the Lord” appears 415 times in the Old Testament. After Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, the Scripture tells us, “The people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:28-29).
The followers of Christ had that same authority: “They spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31). When Stephen stood up before the council, “they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke” (Acts 6:10). All of them spoke with boldness, with clarity, with authority.
Authority doesn’t mean arrogance. It means confidence, knowing that the message you share is God’s truth. A confident spokesman believes that “the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
The second prerequisite for effectively sharing the hope within you is to speak out with humility. Daniel was careful to glorify God when he appeared before Nebuchadnezzar: “There is a God in heaven who reveals secrets… this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living” (Daniel 2:28, 30). He had humility.
Humility will make a hard message softer, and it will make you believable. The old saying “You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” applies here. The blend of authority and humility equals integrity, which will help your message stick with the hearer.
On a practical level, having humility means listening as well as speaking out God’s truth. Find out their questions and their concerns. It doesn’t help a thirsty person to open a fire hose on them! Give them the truth in increments. And don’t point to yourself, point to Him!
The results must always be left to God. God’s word, empowered by His Holy Spirit, will bring about the result that God desires. It’s all about Him!
Finally, if you have truth, never be afraid to tell it to people. Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). Can you echo that?
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