Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.” Psalm 31:24

Proverbs 4:23 commands us, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” One thing you can do to keep your heart on fire for Christ is to “Be of good courage…” and God promises that “…he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.”

One way to “be of good courage” is to take advantage of opportunities to talk about Christ with others. Doing so can be a little scary because you don’t know how people will react, but that is where you need to “be of good courage.” The more you do it, though, the easier and smoother it becomes, and the more you gain confidence in God’s grace to help you share your faith.

By way of example, picture a young officer just off probation. He’s working alone on nights. While on patrol, he sees a speeder. He knows how to do traffic stops. He’s made many of them with his training officer. He knows to give the dispatcher his location and the car’s license plate, approach the car tactically, watch his surroundings, and especially WATCH THE VIOLATOR’S HANDS. Now he’s alone, though. The speeder may be an armed robber or drug dealer. The car may be stolen. The young officer knows nothing until he stops the violator. He may be uneasy, but he shouldn’t just ignore the speeder—he’s the police. Uneasy or not, he has a job to do. In fact, uneasiness is a good thing. It’s better to be uneasy than to be complacent. Once the officer works through the uneasiness and makes traffic stops, though, he’s gained experience and confidence in his ability. Even though the conditions and potential hazards of traffic stops are the same, his experience has made him more confident and better able to deal with them.

In the same way, it can be somewhat scary to take a stand as a Christian. You don’t want to be ashamed of your Saviour, yet you also don’t want people to think you’re some “religious nut.” There will be times, though, when you should take a stand. Look at them as opportunities for God to give you grace to share your faith with others, and increase your confidence in him.

Say your partner wants to tell a dirty joke. You know that kind of talk isn’t pleasing to God, but how do you handle it? You don’t have to preach a sermon. You could simply smile and say, “No, thanks.” If he insists on telling it, you can kindly but firmly insist on not hearing it, and change the subject. If he has any common sense, he’ll get the message. Your refusal to hear the joke could open an opportunity to speak of Jesus without being “holier than thou” about it.

You may feel uneasy about mentioning Jesus, but in a way, it’s good to be uneasy. As you see your need for His grace to help you, and He gives it, you’ll gain confidence in His willingness and grace to help you make mention of Him again, and your heart for Him will be strengthened.

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Brian Miller 1/22/2015

Cleveland Baptist Church 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 216/671-2822