Monday, September 4, 2023
“Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33 NLT)
Near the end of his life, the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy that he had fought the good fight, he had finished the course, and he had kept the faith (see 2 Timothy 4:7).
But then a few verses later, he wrote this: “Demas has deserted me because he loves the things of this life and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus has gone to Dalmatia” (2 Timothy 4:10 NLT).
When things got too difficult for Demas, he quit. He didn’t want to be a follower of Jesus if it required anything of him, if it cost him anything, or if he faced persecution.
Jesus spoke of the same dilemma in the parable of the sower, a story in which He compared sowing seed to the gospel going into people’s hearts. He said, “The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word” (Matthew 13:20-21 NLT).
There are people who, when trouble or persecution comes, fall away. They give up. They deny the Lord.
Of course, one way to deny the Lord is to just say, “I don’t know Him.” But another way to deny Him is by not confessing Him, by neglecting to speak up for Him when the opportunity arises.
Have you ever been in one of those situations where it almost seemed as though God had set the scene for you to speak up for Him? Everything fell into place. You knew what you needed to say. You knew the right thing to say. But you didn’t say it. You were paralyzed by fear. And you seriously regretted it afterward.
Even Peter had a lapse in which he denied the Lord—not once, not twice, but three times. That same Peter went out afterward and wept bitterly. And then he changed. According to church tradition, Peter was put to death on a cross as he hung upside down. He asked to be crucified that way because he said he wasn’t worthy to die in the same manner that his Lord did.
Peter wasn’t happy in the state he was in, and God changed him.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Actually, I feel a bit ashamed. I haven’t been speaking up for the Lord. I haven’t been confessing Him. I must not be a believer because I have denied Him.”
We’ve all had our moments of doubt. And we’ve all had our lapses in which we’ve denied Him.
But you can make a change today. You can begin confessing Him as a follower of Jesus.
Do people know you’re a Christian? Do your coworkers and your family members know that you’re a follower of Jesus Christ? We need to speak up for the Lord. Our lifestyle, the way that we live, should be evidence of our faith in Christ. Are you speaking up for Him?
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