“I don’t feel led by the Holy Spirit.”
“I would preach the Gospel to a lost world, but I just don’t think that’s my calling.”
Jesus told us in the Great Commission to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”; so why do so many of us have such a hard time getting off our tails and engaging the culture?
When I ask most people why they don’t feel led, the answer has something to do with their stomachs being in knots, or them not knowing the words to say. The reason for not talking to people about Christ is fear-based.
What do we have to fear, though? My mentor used to always say that if people who don’t know Jesus as their Lord and Savior aren’t going to heaven, how can we make the situation worse?
Our God is a powerful, just, and loving God. I’ve often heard a quote that says something about how God won’t give us more than we can handle, but there’s more to it than that. By ourselves, as flawed humans, we might not be capable of much; but when we have God, he doesn’t just leave us in that state. He equips us. He dwells within us. We might not be able to do much on our own, but we aren’t alone, and with God, all things are possible.
Okay, I get it. I’ve been there. I’m not pretending that there haven’t been times where I’ve heard a conversation go on where I could easily talk about Christ and I haven’t been hesitant. I’ve definitely missed some opportunities to share the Gospel, and I’ve regretted not speaking up. One of the things that was eye-opening for me and helped me to realize what we are called to do in the Great Commission is a story that one of my mentors shared with me.
In Eusebius’ History of the Church, Eusebius writes about a martyr named Agapias. Agapius was a Christian, and he boldly proclaimed his beliefs. During this time, a tyrant ruled the land and his name was Maximinus. It was customary for when an emperor was present or during big celebrations for spectators to be entertained by events, which included things like throwing people in an area with ravenous animals that would eat them. Agapius was arrested for his proclamation of his faith and was to be thrown to animals, but the tyrant promised that he would release Agapias if he recanted what he believed and denied his profession of faith; Agapius refused.
Since Agapius wouldn’t back down from what he knew to be true, he was thrown into the arena with a hungry bear. You might be thinking, “WOW, I sure can’t wait to share my faith now–NOT!” But stay with me for a second. Agapius was thrown into this arena, but he didn’t give up. He didn’t stop fighting. Eusebius writes that Agapius CHARGED the bear. And not only did he charge the bear but he did so cheerfully. Even when the odds were against him, Agapius gave fighting for the truth his all. And you know what? Agapius didn’t get eaten. He had to be put back in jail for another day because the dude just wouldn’t die, until he was drowned in a sea with stones attached to his feet.
THAT is how we should be. We aren’t called by God to be comfortable. This whole life thing isn’t just about us. It’s about glorifying God. God sent his son to die for us, so we should live for Him, even when it’s hard, or scary, or looks hopeless. We should be like Agapius, shedding our fears, and charging bears.