Freed from fear of testifying

Street testimony comes in different shapes. Photo: Gints Graudyns

Freed from: fear of testifying to Christ’s message with others
It seems to me, that many Christians who have begun their journey following Christ are thinking about how they should share Christ with other people.
Imagine yourself like the Apostle Paul, standing on a box and preaching in the middle of the street. People are passing by, listening, evaluating and asking questions. What would you do? What would you say? How would you feel? When I imagined myself, I was fearful about whether I had enough faith to speak and give testimony to Christ. I wondered if people would look at me and think of me as a crazy fanatic. I feared failing in my duty as a disciple of Jesus to share Christ with others. I wondered how I would I cope with feeling like my testimony wasn’t enough. I felt alone.

When I was reading the Bible I found verses where Jesus calls for his disciples to testify about Him to others. He says, “Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mk.8:38).

When I read the Bible, I thought that I was a bad Christian and I felt guilty about it. But as time went by, I realized that the image of the street preacher was not the way God is calling me to testify about Him.
I often experience God placing me in situations with a burning desire to say something about Him with others. In spite of my fears, I discovered that the words come naturally. Through sharing God with others I feel more secure about myself and my faith. My friends saw my confidence grow and they began to take interest in Christ. Indeed, as Christ Himself said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Mt.11:30).

Freed for: sharing God’s message of love with others

Serving as young leader in my church, I realized that my fear to testify is really a fear of the unknown. During the time of Advent, together with my church’s young people, we gave presents to people near our church building (city centre) –church members baked gingerbread that was nicely wrapped in transparent present paper. Attached to the bread was a small piece of paper and on it was written an inspirational word about Christ’s redeeming work for mankind. It was a simple gift of gingerbread present but it was also a witness to Christ.

When someone asked us about why we were giving all these gifts, we replied that we are from the church and we want others to be happy in Christmas. At first I had to overcome the fear of approaching the first person passing by. Facing my fear I gave him the nicely wrapped gingerbread. With surprise, he smiled and accepted it! I knew then that my fear was just hiding behind that of the unknown. I didn’t know how people would respond to us.

Now, once a month we organize a Film Day. We sit on puffs, eat popcorn and other snacks and watch rented Hollywood movies on a big screen. After watching the movies we talk about the message of the movie in relation to the Bible. I was nervous and fearful to invite young people to the gathering because I knew that we would talk about the Bible and I didn’t know how others would respond to hearing about God. But it turned out that because the youth were invited by the church, most of them already assumed that they would hear something about God. They were more afraid that they would be “hit over the head” with the Bible. We talked patiently and carefully about what God said and found that it increased our visitor’s interest in God. Good movies give a good atmosphere for good conversations. Now every time we organize Film Day we are adding a young person to our church youth group. We are testifying to the message of God’s love in a society that for hundreds of years has been a Christian society but deliberately abandoned the faith.

Activities such as Film Day change negative stereotypes about the Church. While I am not testifying by standing on a box in the middle of the street, I feel that I am at least testifying that the Church is not just for old people and that to follow Christ does not mean being unhappy by giving up all worldly things. On the contrary, to follow Christ means to receive and live a renewed life. I am strengthened knowing that God Himself cares about me and He knows all that I need (Mt.6 : 33).