“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
- Matthew 28:19
Throughout my years in K-12, I attended various school assemblies about respect, academic success, the dangers of drugs, how to stay motivated, etc. However, one of the most famous topics of all was bullying. A common term that came up whilst we were taught about bullying was “Bystander”. The dictionary defines a bystander as an individual who is present at an event or incident where bullying is taking place, but not actively intervening to stop the harassment. Synonyms include onlookers, nonparticipants, observers, spectators, eyewitnesses, sightseers, and watchers. Bystanders tend to do nothing whenever they witness bullies due to fear, intimidation, and embarrassment. It is no surprise that we were taught to stand up, and never be bystanders.
The biggest bully in existence is the devil himself, and he is on a mission to disrupt the growth of the kingdom by spreading lies and deception. As believers, it is our mission to fight back and be diligent. We can't afford to be bystanders, we must say something whenever we notice wrongdoing. I'm not just talking about bullying, I'm talking about all moral situations in life. It can be very intimidating to stand up and speak out because of all the tensions that are present in our generation. I've often been intimidated by the boldness that some unbelievers possess, however, I always remind myself that the boldness that stems from lies and deceit can't hold a candle to the boldness that comes from the Holy Spirit. As believers, we have a special responsibility to impart truth to the world based on what the word of God says. Regardless of what others may say, we must stand firm in the gospel because it is too beautiful not to share. Naturally, I'm not a very bold person; however, through my relationship with God and much prayer, I have increasingly become passionate and bold about His word.
The book of Matthew, tells us that we must GO out and make disciples! Not that we should wait to be approached. Because more times than not, unbelievers will not approach us (believers) and ask us about our beliefs and values. Keep in mind that Atheist, Muslims, Buddhist, etc. are convinced that Jesus Christ is not Lord, just as much as we are convinced that He is ( Lord)! Therefore we cannot expect them to come to us and inquire about our faith. Don't be dismayed though, there could be moments when unbelievers make notions for us to talk to them about Christ, however, the majority of our time evangelizing will consist of us GOing out to make disciples. I had a season in my life when I felt rejected in my efforts to win souls. So much so, that I made a decision that I wasn't going to minister to anyone unless they inquired about my faith. I praise God that He has since delivered me from that pettiness and hurt, because if He hadn't, then I wouldn't be living according to His will! God desires for all of His children is to have an intimate relationship with Him, walk-in overflow, and share about His goodness. I was denying God of the opportunity to use me, and I was also denying myself the opportunity to grow and bear fruit. Since we were designed to grow in the things of God, we suffer whenever we forsake His word and aren't obedient to His instructions. I have since embraced sharing the word of God regardless of what the consequences may be. I also believe that we must say everything with a good heart and good intentions. It can be so easy to judge and make comments from a negative place, so we must always make sure that we are speaking out of love, just like Christ did.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were so bold that they were willing to die out of reverence for God. They did not allow the fear of man to hinder their obligation to stand up for what was right. They also knew that honoring God was more important than their reputations. God, being so faithful delivered them from the hand of Nebuchadnezzar and demonstrated His authority over the laws of Nebuchadnezzar’s corrupt kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar was profoundly impacted by their obedience to God, and their boldness was so powerful that it affected the entire nation of Israel. Nebuchadnezzar went from being against God; to commanding the entire nation to worship His (God's) glorious name. God desires to reveal Himself to all of creation through the effective evangelism of His servants. Whenever we struggle to be vocal about God’s message, then the people that are assigned to hear His word through us are deprived; and they miss out on an opportunity to know God.
There is a natural tendency for humans to want to be liked, and there's nothing wrong with it; however, we must maintain a healthy view of how others perceive us. I often ask myself, "Am I here to be popular, liked, and have people agree with me? Or am I here to lift up the name of God at all times!?". Following God will cost you everything! Certain people may not want to be your friend, you may not get invited to certain places, and you definitely won't agree with the majority of people on several topics. But! Being faithful and committed to the word of God will allow you to hear “Well done my good and faithful servant” in the end. Stephen was stoned to death, Paul was imprisoned, and John the Baptist was beheaded! At the expense of spreading the gospel. Although they suffered, I believe that they received their rewards in Heaven. Being a mouthpiece for Jesus means doing whatever it takes to please Him, and resisting the temptation to be a bystander. I'm not saying that we must riot the streets and cause a ruckus. Being bold can be anything from having a revival meeting to telling a stranger in a grocery store that Jesus loves them. It also doesn't have to be seen by the masses, because God knows our hearts. We must simply be led by him in all of the steps that we take, and we should not hold back from doing the right thing. Remember child of God, you’re not a slave to humanity, you’re a mouthpiece for Jesus. Go forth, speak out, and spread the good news.