Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Don’t Fear, Keep Speaking

“Then the Lord said to Paul in a night vision, ‘Don’t be afraid, but keep on speaking and don’t be silent. For I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to hurt you, because I have many people in this city.’” (Acts 18:9-10)

Note these two verses above in your mind, and then think back. At this point Paul was several years into his missionary work. He had traveled extensively, visiting numerous cities, and he had started churches in most of these cities. He was once stoned and left for dead. He had been beaten and imprisoned. He had been run out of town more than once. He had been laughed out of the Athenian areopagus (market place). Now, here he was in Corinth, afraid. The significance of his fear and hesitation is seen in the fact that it took a vision from the Lord to move him beyond it.

Even veteran missionaries with years of experience, toughened by adversity, can still experience fear and hesitation. Certainly fear can hinder those less experienced and toughened much more easily. It is a tool of Satan. But we have Paul’s vision of the Lord recorded for us, and it provides us with the same truth it provided Paul: the Lord and His strength is with us and is sufficient. He gives us the reassurance of His presence, His love, His power, and His activity. And He invites us not to be afraid, to keep on speaking, and not be silent. He invites us to move with Him beyond fear into obedience and trust.

Father, Help us to move beyond our hesitations and beyond its causes and speak with courage in Your name. Amen.

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