How to overcome fear in evangelism

I hate spiders. Like really hate spiders.

I don’t want them to touch me, I don’t want to be in the same room as one, I don’t want to be in the same city as one, in fact I prefer to not be in the same continent as one. 

This arachnophobia, leads me to do some strange things. For example when I have to sit at a bench that is outside, I usually check below the bench to see if there are any spider webs. Don’t get me wrong, I fear looking stupid, but I fear more being near a spider. If a spider were to come near me, I would probably run away. Between the fears of seeming weak and being touched by a spider I choose the former every time. It’s all comes down to competing fears.

There are competing fears also when it comes to evangelism. 

I was recently reminded of how my grandfather started his church in Rome. Each Sunday night he and his sons, would stand in a square 100 yards away from the famous Holy Steps that changed Martin Luther’s life, singing songs and preaching the Gospel to strangers on the street. 

My uncle remarked that people constantly mocked, yelled slurs and persecuted them for their actions. Yet, my grandfather despite, like any normal human being, hating the feeling of rejection and persecution, pressed on. Fifty years later the church he started is still around and doing well.

No one wants to be rejected. No one wants to be mocked. No one wants to lose relationships. Those are all understandable fears that we all face as Christians. But the fact of the matter is that we need to weigh out the competing fears. 

Yes, you will be made fun of. But God has called you to be faithful and has promise every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. (Eph. 1:3)

Yes, you might lose a relationship in this life. (Matt. 10:34) But you will certainly lose it for eternity if they don’t repent and believe in Christ.

Yes, you could be harmed and even lose your life. (Matt. 10:39) But we are not to fear those who can only kill the body, we are to fear the one who after killing the body has the power to send our soul to hell. (Matt. 10:28)

It’s all about competing fears. 

With reformation day soon approaching, I am reminded about Luther on the day of the diet of Worms. He was asked to recant.

We cannot forget that one of our heroes wavered that day.

He asked for a day to think and pray. The story goes that he stayed up all night and went to war with the devil, by his own words.

What was the problem? What was he thinking?

Well, they were going to excommunicate him out of the Roman Catholic Church. This was a big deal because the Catholic Church says that outside of it there is no salvation. Also, his life was under threat, there was a good chance that he would be burned!

Yet, even under such fear, the competing fear prevailed. The fear he had to go against his conscience. The fear that German souls would not get to hear the Gospel. The fear that His Savior would not be glorified. And so, he courageously stood his ground and faithfully defended the true Gospel.

I know it is hard to share the Gospel. Telling someone that they are going to hell unless they repent and believe in Jesus is hard. Telling someone that if they die today that they will face God and that unless they are perfect that they won’t stand a chance. Telling someone that they are not good people, but that they are constantly offending God with their conduct and with their lives.

None of these things are easy to do. All these things can bring serious consequences to your life. But it is worth it. It is worth it because there is no other way that the person you are talking to can be saved. It is worth it because the King of Glory called you to pick up your cross and follow Him. It is worth it because the God of the universe has chosen you to be his mouthpiece. It is worth it because the trinity deserves the worship of every human being walking in this world.

Of course, it isn’t just about fear. There is much joy that comes with faithfully proclaiming the Gospel. We must never forget the powerful reminder we get each time we declare the truth of what God has done in our lives. It is exhilarating to share the Gospel with an unbeliever because it is a wonderful opportunity to declare God’s powerful work in our lives. It is also such a joy, though rare, to see the transforming power of the Gospel in people’s lives as He opens their eyes and causes them to follow Christ. And we must never forget the rewards that those with beautiful feet will get in Heaven for faithfully proclaiming the Gospel to people as God gives us opportunities. All these are wonderful and positive reasons to share the Gospel. 

But we must always be cognizant of the competing fears of evangelism.

Next time you find yourself weighing the consequences of sharing the gospel, consider the competing fears, and ask yourself what you fear more. Do you fear man or God? Do you fear losing an earthly relationship or losing an eternal one? Or more importantly do you fear losing personal Glory or God not getting glory?

Let us always fear God more than man, and out of joy faithfully proclaim the truth to all the souls he has placed in our path.

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