When they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God with boldness
Fear is a powerful controller. It either compels us to do what is irresponsible or it impedes us from living responsibly. Recently a denominational executive spoke in our chapel, and his opening statement was, "As I travel among our pastors, I'm overwhelmed by the realization that the number one motivation in their lives is fear of failure."
After several years of teaching evangelism and overseeing evangelistic outreaches, I can tell you with confidence that the number one reason people don't share their faith is fear. Agoraphobia, fear of being in public, is one of the fastest growing psychological disorders. Fear of failure, fear of the devil, fear of man, fear of everything is plaguing our society.
Do you know that the most frequent command of Jesus in the Gospels is "Fear not"? In anticipation of Israel's entrance into the Promised Land, God tells His people four times "Be strong and courageous" (Joshua 1). The writer of Proverbs says, "The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion" (Proverbs 28:1).
The fact that God doesn't look favorably on cowards and unbelievers is made evident in Revelation 21:8: "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Does it surprise you that cowardly, unbelieving people are listed in a rogue's gallery with murderers and liars?
It is a characteristic of the Spirit-filled life to be bold (Acts 4:31). The early church didn't pray for "divine appointments;" they prayed for boldness. God's kingdom can only be established by faithful and courageous people.
Prayer: Lord, I purpose to be strong and courageous in Your name, ready and trustworthy to accomplish Your will.
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