BOLDNESS IN A GOSPEL-HARASSING CULTURE
“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to Your servants to continue to speak Your Word with all boldness, while You stretch out Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of Your holy servant Jesus. -Acts 4:29-30
How dare you even mention the name “Jesus? Not only is He definitely not considered the only path to salvation by your culture, His name is not even to be mentioned in public in any positive manner. Regrettably, “Jesus Christ is particularly one of the most common swear words in many languages, and such is very acceptable by the thought-guardians of the age. This is the world in which you live: a definitely non-Christian culture harassing those who live life Christianly and seek to speak openly about Jesus.
The culture is presently dominated by what is known as “politically correct (PC) thinking. One could say PC’s definition is all over the map depending on who you are talking to, but, nevertheless, core PC thinking is quite antithetical to what the Bible teaches and God commands concerning life, values, and personal behavior.
Such PC thinking dominates public institutions and continually threatens private, especially Christian, institutions through regulation, “acceptable curriculum, withdrawing licenses and accreditation, and otherwise restricting the ability to operate according to personal Christian standards and beliefs which are supposedly protected by the Freedom of Religion clause found in the US Constitution.
Speaking boldly into the maelstrom of such a world brings retribution, harassment, and punishment. Did the followers of Jesus experience anything different in the culture of the first century? Not at all! Nor any of the centuries down to the present day.
Why? Because Satan as the prince of this world promulgates all the many false religions while also saturating the world with secular non-Christian thought. The culture faithfully does his bidding though somewhat blind to his real presence and power; but, he is the one behind all harassers, and he is the arch-enemy of Jesus and His kingdom. This is why Christianity and Jesus are attacked and vilified, and interestingly, “Jesus, not “Mohammed or “Buddha, is the swear word of choice. Or something He has created for you as a gift, sacred and pure.
Christians become reticent to boldness in their walk and talk in such an adverse culture. But the Word of God gives you one example after another in encouraging and commanding boldness in both life example and verbal witness. By remaining in His Word, you are encouraged to greater and wiser boldness by many biblical examples from His servants as well as your observation of heroes of the faith in the church age.
PC, if you will, is the “Bible of this current culture. It drives all trains, lifts all boats, and defines the standard of acceptable life and words in the secular world. PC rules, however, are much the opposite of the message of the Bible.
PC rails vehemently against any mention of the exclusive claims of the Gospel: that Jesus is the one path to God the Father and that salvation comes to you alone through Jesus Christ. Life has biblical boundaries given you by God, His Son, and His Holy Spirit. By those boundaries you direct the everyday course of your life. As Jesus clearly says, “If you love Me, you will obey My commands (John 14:15).
The opposite of His words, however, prevail predominantly in the flow of the culture. It is most difficult to remain winsome and loving in your witness while not succumbing to anti-Christian thinking in both philosophy and practice. It is impossible for you to just “fit in.
So, Jesus asks you for boldness, not silence, and not weak, compromising behavior. You must remember this is for a season only. The battle is fierce, but it is soon over. Lives of 70-80 years seem quite long to you now, but it is a drop in the ocean of eternity. Such perspective of the brevity of the battle is difficult to attain and live out, but nurturing this understanding is a must for every serious believer. Cultivate this biblical perspective in your heart and mind, make it a discipline, and be bold today for Christ!
“Am I a soldier of the cross, a follower of the Lamb, and shall I fear to own His cause or blush to speak His name?
(First verse of Isaac Watts’ hymn, “Am I a Soldier of the Cross, 1724)