- "You said the wrong things."
- "This is a stupid project."
- "You don't know what you're talking about, and people are going to hear that."
- "You should be embarrassed."
- "No one wants to hear this."
When this first started happening years ago (around the time that I started writing more gospel-centered content on my blog), it took a while to get used to. But now I know that whenever I'm in the heat of pouring out truth about Christ and giving glory to God, I'm also going to experience a string of lies, attacking that desire. There is a real spiritual battle happening that I can't see, and a real enemy that wants me to talk about anything but the good news of Jesus Christ.
However, knowing this is going to happen and having the strength to resist it, are two different things! On too many occasions, I've let fears, accusations, and hesitations keep me from sharing things (in person and online) that might have encouraged someone to look to Jesus. I'm confident these experiences aren't unique to me.
Maybe you can recall a time when you wanted to speak boldly about the gospel, and you stopped yourself out of fear...
Maybe you have friends or family members who you would like to disciple more intentionally, but your insecurity gets the best of you...
Maybe you want to serve God by walking in your giftings, but you feel like you aren't qualified to share simple truths about Jesus...
Whatever your insecurity or fear, I know it feels real, but I want to encourage you to speak truth to yourself in those moments of hesitation.
Here are some of the common fears that can hold us back:
"I don't know enough."
We are each at different points in our spiritual journey. Some are new to the faith, and only know the basic message of the gospel. Some have been believers for decades, and come armed with lots of deep theology and memorized scripture. Regardless of where you are at, God wants you to share what you know and love about Jesus. He can use the humble to teach the proud. Just because you aren't a bible scholar or theologian, doesn't mean your voice is useless. In fact, imagine how much the kingdom might advance if every normal person shared what they are learning about trusting God in the midst of their everyday conversations? How many more would be reached with the gospel? You might not know everything, but you do know enough to share something.
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. - 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 ESV
"I'm going to say something wrong."
Yes. Yes, you are. The tongue can be a wicked thing, and out of the same well can come blessing and cursing. You won't communicate spiritual truth perfectly, and if people want to, they will find some error in what you say. But that still doesn't mean you should stay silent. We have to speak with wisdom, not proudly trying to explain doctrines that we're still working through, but we also need to trust that the Holy Spirit is able to overcome our weaknesses. When we speak the truth of the gospel from a heart that wants to glorify God, we have to believe that he is going to be faithful (even in our sad attempts). We have to believe that people are going to be amazed by the living and active words of God, and not be so worried about our fallible words.
"I'm not perfect."
In this life, we are never going to be sinless or "arrive" at some spiritual ideal of maturity. In fact, as we mature and grow closer to God, our awareness of our own sin becomes more heightened. But this can't stop us! Our awareness of sin keeps us humble, and allows us to share truth from a place of "me too" instead of "you're bad and I'm good". We can use our weakness and sin to relate to others, making the good news of Jesus more beautiful. If I let my failures in motherhood keep me from pointing other moms to Jesus, I would be completely silent. If I let my shortcomings as a wife keep me from encouraging a young bride to love her husband, I would never have a right to speak. At some point, we must accept God's grace, know that we won't ever be perfect, pursue authenticity, and go ahead and share!
"I'm going to look silly."
You might. There are people (believers and nonbelievers) that think zeal for God is ugly and weird. They wish that Christians would keep their faith to themselves, and talk more about worldly matters. They aren't going to like that you keep turning the conversation to Jesus, because they would rather just discuss the latest article they read on Facebook. While we want to do our best to be relatable and easy to be around, we also are called to be bold in our sharing. There need to be more Christians who are willing to talk about the gospel in everyday conversation, even if it annoys some people. Besides, your boldness might astonish unbelievers and allow them to take a second glance at Jesus!
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. - Acts 4:13
"I might offend someone."
Yes, that's a given. The gospel is offensive, it's foolishness to those who don't believe and Jesus is a stumbling block. Whenever you open your mouth or type words to share about him and his message, there are going to be people who hate what you're saying. This doesn't make it easy to speak, but don't forget that it's not really YOU they have a problem with, it's God. And he can surely take it. The more we find our identity in Christ and feel secure in him, the easier it will become to face the world's rejection.
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, - 2 Timothy 3:12 ESV
So no, you aren't going to share perfectly, you aren't going to feel like you know enough, you probably won't deliver the truth as well as you could have, and you will offend someone - but talking about Jesus is still worth it. Satan is going to use every tool in his tool belt to keep you silent, including harsh accusations.
As time goes on, I pray that I'm growing in my desire and ability to speak boldly for the cause of Christ, but I still experience moments, days, and even entire seasons where I second-guess myself into complete silence. But sharing gospel-truth is worth the risks, and God can be trusted as our refuge - even if we mess up the delivery a little bit.
Whatever lies you are believing today, combat them with truth. Go forward and share with that hurting friend, ask to help out with that ministry, contact that woman you are hoping to disciple, and start using your time left on Earth for the advance of the Kingdom.
Even in your insecurities, I promise - you won't regret it someday.