When we attend a life group or any other small group setting we often start off the time to get to know each other with an icebreaker. Icebreakers can range from ‘If you were a zoo animal, which one would you be?’ to ‘Name three things you would have with you if you were deserted on an island.’ One of the best icebreakers is ‘What is one of your most embarrassing moments?’ It can be the hardest to answer, yet if done properly can be the most revealing in a good way. This icebreaker can at the same time be funny and lighten the mood and reveal some of our greatest fears. We fear embarrassment because embarrassment comes when we feel as though we have done something that may lose us acceptance or credibility before others. If you do something in private and feel embarrassed, it is usually because you imagine what it would have been like if people had seen what you just did. I say all of this because I want to argue that we all have this deep seeded desire to be accepted by others. When we are embarrassed it points to this reality.
Christ had strong words to say about being embarrassed or ashamed about the gospel. He knew that to many the gospel would be offensive and therefore believers may be reluctant to share the gospel or to claim Christ because they do not want to be embarrassed or lose acceptance from someone else. This can often be the reason why we are hesitant to share the gospel before those who are militantly against it. Our first response may be that we need to put in the effort to become bolder or to put ourselves in situations where we will have to claim Christ. However, the reality is that we can not change ourselves by mere behavioral modification. We operate from our heart. When our heart is filled with a fear of people we will operate within that mindset. We will avoid situations and circumstances because we fear people. So what we need is a heart renewal. We need God to give us this renewed heart. It begins by prayer. We pray to God for him to give us a heart that fears him above others. We can be assured that we will be able to handle persecution for the sake of the gospel when God has given us a new heart. If we rely on ourselves we will not be able to stand, but if we rely on the supernatural power of God we can be assured that we will have the power and ability to be bold for the gospel.
Scripture: 2 Timothy 1:6-14
Sermon: Enabled to Faithfully Face Opposition