"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should." NIV
I think two of the greatest enemies we battle against every day are fear and selfishness. They are the Siamese heads of a monster that want to stop us dead in our tracks as followers of Jesus Christ. They loom at every turn we take, and boy, are they good at what they do. They are waiting for us when we wake whispering thoughts of sloth. They follow us to work and to school, hovering with lies of doubt but at the same time pushing for more power and authority over others. Looking for praise and promotion, but living afraid to be who I really need to be. Will I be accepted? Will I be made a fool? They follow me home and push against the relationships in my own house -- battling for control and self-satisfaction. Then when I lock my doors at night and lay my head on the pillow in the dark, they want to rewind the day with doubt and second guessing. Fear that I over did it, and fear that I didn't do enough. Replayed conversations bounce around our heads robbing us of true rest.
In spite of all that Paul did, he was still human enough to have moments of fear and selfishness. And here we see him asking for prayer to live and share the gospel fearlessly. Pretty ironic for a man that couldn't be stopped from speaking. They threw him in prison, he shares with the prisoners and guards. They threaten to kill him, he welcomes the death that will allow him to go be with his Lord. They let him go, and he goes right out to preach again. Paul was unstoppable. But it was because he was sold out for Jesus Christ. He knew he'd face temptations of fear, but he also knew where the strength and power to overcome it came from. "The prayers of a righteous man availeth much." If we only ask, the power of the Holy Spirit can decapitate that two-headed monster that wants to defeat us and ruin our effectiveness for Christ.
Lord, I desire like Paul to stand firm in my faith, to walk boldly in the world. "Whenever I open my mouth..." -- fearless.
- David battled fear in his adult life. Read some of the Psalms. What did David do with that fear?
- Compare and contrast "boldness" and "arrogance." Find Scripture on each one.
- Did Jesus battle against fear or doubt? If so, how did he fight it? (Read Matthew 26:36-44.)
- Using a concordance, find some supportive Scripture to claim against fear. Also look up the word, "afraid." (One online concordance is at crosswalk.com.
- Is fear and doubt trying to overtake you? Pray for boldness through the power of the Holy Spirit. Then walk fearlessly.