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Controversial and Thought-Provoking Articles for the Savvy Christian

Afraid of the Great Commission

Posted By Denise Miller Holmes on Monday

Savvy Article #0911

I have a fear of poisonous snakes (rational). I have a fear of falling into the Grand Canyon when I walk close to the edge where there is no guard rail (mostly rational). My heart pounds, my stomach quivers, and my knees knock when I am in a position to witness (not rational).

I’m not saying anything shocking. Most of us struggle with witnessing. Oh, there are those who have a fire in their belly who haven’t stopped spreading the Good News since the day they got saved, but most of us feel at least a bit uncomfortable when opportunities to share emerge.

Why is this so?  Is it fear of taking risk? After all, we could get shunned, made fun of, or even fired.

No. I don’t think that is the reason. Yes, in America those things can happen, but they are not as common as in countries that are openly hostile to the Gospel. And besides, I see American Christians take risks in so many areas of their lives (like risking money in the stock market, or putting oneself on the line to make a sale, or asking a member of the opposite sex out for dinner) that I have a hard time thinking the fear of witnessing is about risk.

Instead, I think there is a spiritual battle that ensues whenever you and I are in a position to share the Gospel.

And why not? Witnessing is obedience, and it is actually quite normal to experience anything from worrying about the outcome to doubting your own sanity when it comes to obeying God (see the Only Nut-Jobs Obey God series). I have had the Enemy throw every deterrent he could at me when I was on the cusp of obeying God in something He had blatantly told me to do.

And the Great Commission is nothing if not blatant. It is found in some form in all the Gospels.

Dwight Robertson, the founder and President of Kingdom Building Ministries, wrote a book called PLAN A: AND THERE’S NO PLAN B. His premise is that most Christians are spectators instead of laborers—and the Scripture does not give us a choice. We are commanded to share the Gospel.

That very fact puts our backs up against the wall—we better find a way to conquer our fears, or we are living in disobedience.

The only way I know to overcome fear, especially the irrational sort, is prayer: persistent, stubborn, take-no-prisoners, prayer.

It is the Holy Spirit that puts the fire in the belly. It was the Holy Spirit who caused the disciples, who ran away from the cross, to become bold confessors of Christ’s salvation.  It was the Holy Spirit that caused Stephen to preach to the crowd words that he knew would further incite them (Acts 7:55, 56).

And it was the Holy Spirit who caused Grace the Grandma to start teaching prisoners about Jesus through a correspondence Bible study. By the time she died, she was reaching over ten thousand prisoners all over the Americas for Christ. (Plan A, chapter 2.)

I have come to the conclusion that my mind will never overcome the fears that rise up when it comes to witnessing. This fear is not rational, it is spiritual. Only the Holy Spirit can overcome it and make me bold. And from where I stand right now, the only way to be ignited is through prayer.

When my breakthrough comes, I’ll let you know.

About The Author

Denise Miller Holmes
Denise Miller Holmes enjoys teaching biblical topics, and especially researching and communicating what Christians believe about the world around them. She sometimes turns established viewpoints on end. A graduate of the University of Southern California School of Journalism, Denise also has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology, and has been a Christian for over 35 years. She belongs to the writers’ groups Words for the Journey and American Christian Fiction Writers.


5 Responses to “Afraid of the Great Commission”

  1. Jan says:

    So true. And we face the same spiritual battle when God calls us to do something we think is weird or hard. It is all in His strength – not ours. If only we could “get over ourselves” faster. I guess in time, it will happen.

  2. In time, if we keep praying. When God’s Spirit makes changes in me, I’m always amazed because I could never see myself doing or feeling that way, but there it is. God’s ability to
    change us into who He wants us to be leaves me speechless sometimes.

    Thanks for commenting, Jan.

  3. Robbie Iobst says:

    I really like this post Denise. Got to process it. Thank you!

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