Babies think they are the center of the universe. From the moment they are born they scream for attention. Their cry is their way of saying, “Feed me or I will die!” So we run to their attention.
As they grow, we prepare them for life by teaching them the importance of using their manners. “Please” becomes part of their feed me vocabulary.
Next, we show them how to feed themselves. This is because the end-goal is to have them stand on their own two feet, and then to eventually reproduce of their own kind (within the bounds of marriage, of course).
When we are born again, it seems that God responds to our every demand. Prayers are miraculously answered. But then He stands back to teach us to stand on our own two feet. That’s not so much fun because we tend to get bruised as we learn to walk.
The end-goal is for us to be fruitful and multiply—to reproduce of our own kind.
The problem is that many of us are stuck in self-centered infancy. We’ve learned to walk in Christ and feed ourselves on the Word, but we don’t reproduce. We are fearful when it comes to planting the seed of the Word of God in the hearts of the lost. We avoid the very thought of the dreadful task of evangelism.
Arguably, the biggest barrier to the joy of reproduction, is fear of rejection. Like a terrified and tongue-tied teenager standing in a dark corner unable to even approach the girl he admires, we are paralyzed by our fears. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is petrified. There is the fear of not knowing what to say...of not being able to answer some tough question. Or the fear of looking foolish. And those fears combine to make a measly molehill look like a massive mountain of intimidation.
I have been witnessing for nearly 50 years, in planes, on buses, in taxies, in airports, in colleges, on the streets, in stores, in season and out of season. You name it and I’ve done it. Yes, even in a public restroom. Despite this glowing and bold testimony, my dark little secret is that I battle fear every time I approach someone. Everyone scares me. Zacchaeus never fails to look like a Goliath. God is my witness—that when I’m on a plane with an empty seat next to me, I’m praying for the prospective person. I’m secretly praying that they won’t show up! I’m serious.
But when they do sit in the hot-seat, I never fail to witness to them. This is because I have found that there are certain powerful weapons that easily defeat the enemy. Goliath can be taken down with a smooth stone, and then taken out completely with his sword.
Spiritual infancy should have been left behind as we grew in Christ. It should have been defeated when we had our Gethsemane experience.
As a new Christian, I came to terms with my fears. As I wrestled with the fear of rejection, I sweat drops of blood at the thought of speaking to strangers. My prayer moved from, “Anyone but me,” to “Not my will, but yours be done...send me.” Then I stood to my feet, knowing that the issue of fear was no longer negotiable. Any listening to its further whispering was out of the question—because the fear was rooted in pride and the desire to be accepted by this sinful world. I no longer needed that.
Instead, I would with humility and honor carry the cross, and begin to do what I’d been saved to do—to follow Jesus, to seek and save the lost. I would forever pour contempt on my pride.
All that happened in a moment of time, in the light of the blood of the cross.