Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – July 23, 2017
Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God. John 12:42-43
Fear represses faith and restrains its recognition. It holds back the boldness to believe; fear is no friend of faith. Fear mistakenly believes it can coddle cunning men while at the same time claim Christ. This is a contradiction that does not stand up under the scrutiny of your Savior. Jesus requires unconditional commitment and unwavering loyalty. It is not all Jesus on Sunday, and Jesus only when it’s convenient the other six days of the week. Covert confession is not an option for a follower of Jesus Christ. Yes, in some parts of the world you have to remain under the rule of atheistic authorities. Discretion is both wise and responsible, but there is no doubt where bold believers stand. Faith is not motivated by fear of man, but by love of God. Faith does not seek to integrate other belief systems into Christianity. It embraces Jesus, and Jesus alone.
Believers who confess their faith in Christ are set free from fear. Confession is freeing, while repression is constraining. You may currently be flailing away on the battlefield of fear. You fear how others may perceive you if they know you fear God. They may label you as weird, narrow-minded, or judgmental. Confession in Christ risks being misunderstood for the sake of the Lord. It values praise from God over praise from man. Yes, public confession of your faith may cost you. Leaders especially have a lot to lose by laying their beliefs on the line.
“Saul replied, ‘I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God’” (1 Samuel 15:30).
However, how can you be a quiet Christian? What is your motivation? If fear is your reason, then you are wrong to continue down this road of cultural conformity. Where are the leaders who will live by principle even when it may mean losing power? Don’t use your faith just to get a following, and don’t compromise your convictions just to please a group that refuses to respect your values. Fear-based decision-making has no place in the lives of Christ’s disciples. Do the right thing, even though it may cost you votes, a job, a raise, a promotion, praise, or opportunities. In turn, you gain the confidence of Christ.
When you give up something because of principle, you gain His praise. When fear becomes your fortress, you fight a losing battle, for fear is indefensible. There is not enough you can do to defend its exposed flank. Therefore, fight fear with a consistent and compassionate confession of Christ. Trust God to use your public confession for His cause and glory. Confession gives confidence and calm. It agrees with and proclaims the ways of God and builds your faith. Fear melts under the heat of confession. Public confession of Christ refreshes faith and overcomes fear.
The Bible says, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess His name” (Hebrews 13:15).
PrayerHeavenly Father, strengthen my faith to overcome my persistent fears, in Jesus’ name, amen.
ApplicationWhat fear has neutralized my faith and caused me unnecessary worry and stress?
Related Reading1 Samuel 12:24; Isaiah 41:10; Luke 8:25; 1 Peter 3:14; 1 John 4:18 Today’s reading is taken from Boyd’s most popular book: Seeking Daily the Heart of God, a 365 day devotional.
Post/Tweet todayFight fear with a consistent confession of Christ’s faithfulness in your life. #wisdomhunters #fearorfaith
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