A Bold Testimony
By Paul Mathers
I confess, anxiety is my besetting sin. I doubt that’s all that shocking or unusual. I daresay our culture’s economy depends on anxiety. News stories and advertising constantly suggest that we have every reason, even a duty, to be afraid.
In my professional life, I have worked in settings where my decisions and actions could be a matter of life or death. The constant weight of that responsibility became a white noise of anxiety.
In those settings it was all too common for co-workers to be undermining, stone throwing, backstabbing, and tearing one another down. This behavior turned up the volume on everyone’s anxiety, creating an environment where life-or-death mistakes were even more likely to happen.
My wife, Laurie, remembers the times I woke in a panic at 3 A.M. and drove to work to triple-check what I knew full well I had done correctly the day before. I had no confidence in my work or that others would not destroy my work after I’d left the building.
My current workplace is different. We are a team. I am continually amazed and continually praise God for the blessing it is to work in a place where I feel safe, supported, and encouraged. If I make a mistake, we work together to fix it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. In this environment, I need not fear. I can approach my work with boldness and meet challenges with decisiveness.
Being children of the all-powerful God ought to make us bold. God told Joshua, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” If our life is lived to God’s glory, and we are doing the work of his kingdom, we, too, should be courageous. We have nothing to be afraid of. God’s will cannot be foiled. As Justin Martyr said before being killed for his faith, “You can kill us, but you can’t hurt us.”
I began this article by telling you something that makes me a little vulnerable. I did that on purpose. I have experienced, maybe you have too, churches where people’s vulnerability is exploited for someone’s gain, for politics, or just to make some bully feel stronger. What a misrepresentation of Christ it is when a church is a place where weakness is exploited!
But now I am blessed to be in a church where the members are seeking to support one another and to reflect the character of Christ to each other. In spite of how flawed and fallible I am, and you are, this environment is beginning to give me boldness to serve God without fear.
Regardless of my external circumstances, I hope that I can live my life in the boldness that comes from believing in the sufficiency of Christ for my salvation. Even more, I hope that knowledge leads me to reflect my Savior to you, with kindness, with the heart of a servant, with nothing but love and a desire to see you living boldly in Christ as well.