Why do I fear to speak the name of Jesus?

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?

Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

There must have been people even 300 years ago who considered themselves followers of Jesus but were very circumspect about mentioning His name. Why are we like that? Are we afraid of facing persecution, opposition, ridicule?

Have we persuaded ourselves that it’s not necessary to verbally tell others that we believe we have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus and that our life today is built upon our faith in Jesus? People should just know that by observing us, right?

Wrong! If we don’t speak up and identify ourselves as followers of Jesus people will assume that we are following some ethnic or cultural tradition, or some esoteric philosophy. There are all kinds of traditions, beliefs and philosophies out there. That we are followers of Jesus is probably not the first idea that will pop into people’s minds.

There are all kinds of people out there identifying themselves as followers of Jesus whose attitudes and lifestyles don’t bear much resemblance to the Jesus of the Bible. But most people don’t know anything about what the Bible says; they look at those people and form their impressions of Jesus from those who boast the most loudly of being His followers.

Is that a reason for us to be quiet? After all, didn’t Francis of Assisi say: “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use words.” Well, actually there is no evidence that Francis ever did say that, yet it has become a popular motto for cringing Christians. “We don’t have to say anything, our lives are a testimony of what we believe.”

It is true that our lives should exemplify our faith. But it is ridiculous to believe that is all we need to do to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We cannot preach the Gospel without talking about Jesus; especially in a world that knows so little about Him.

I am as fearful as anyone else, perhaps more so, of facing scorn and ridicule for the name of Jesus, yet I feel the Spirit is telling me that I need to be much more fearful of being rejected by Jesus.

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 10:32-33

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