For God hath not given us the spirit of fear… 1 Tim. 1: 7
Then where does fear come from? Why are many Christians timid, withdrawn or shy? May be the Christians of a few years back were more guilty of this, but the ones of today are not also completely free from it. A few even go to the other extreme and become brash and loud, a clear case of inferiority complex masking as boldness. More often than not you see a few Christian brothers and sisters who know the Lord demur and hide at the back side of society. Almost as if they are too timid to face the world. As though they are outcasts, who dare not show their faces anywhere the real owners of the world are gathered.
To make the point clear, I agree with scripture when it says that we are not of the world, but it goes ahead to say that we are in it. We live in it, not as though perching, but fully, as long as our lease is running. If I as a Nigerian relocates to America legitimately, I do not have any reason to squirm in the presence of Americans. True I am not of America, but I am in it and legitimately so. I will walk its ground as boldly as my visa is still valid and will stand up to my right at any time circumstances demand that I do. Not being of it does not mean I cannot demand my space for being in it.
I believe many Christians conflate this issue. They think that because they are not of the world, they should avoid it as much as they can, tiptoeing around as though they are walking on egg shells. This is not supposed to be so. The scripture we are considering says that God has not given us the spirit of timidity but of boldness. The righteous is as bold as lion. We should be bold as we walk the face of the earth, not timid and fearful as though we have been granted a very vanishing lease to stay under some stringent conditions.
Fresh from secondary school some years ago, I went to write the GCE exams with my friend in one town in Owerri Imo state Nigeria. The landlord had no joy at all. He had given the same room to other people, and when we arrived, we were four people that have paid for that same room. My friend and I came in late. The other guys have settled in. Hardly have we unpacked our bags than the biggest guy announced that there would be rules that will govern the room. The very first rule being that whenever anyone brings a girl, the others would give him space to ‘enjoy’ with his girl till they are done. I told him that there would be no girls coming to stay and that there certainly would be no sex happening in that room as long as we will be staying there. This guy couldn’t believe his ears. He was certainly years older than us. He said that that exam was his 3rd or 4th (can’t remember now), and that anywhere he had been, it has always been the rule. My friend and I were rooky, looking almost underage. We had not even received our SSCE results, we were just seeking adventure. We told him that the rule ends with us. Not only will we not give them space, we will make sure it doesn’t happen in that room. A lot of threats and promises went on for long.
One evening, he organized almost all the people that came for the exams that were staying in that neighborhood for us. Boys and girls gathered in their numbers to find out what gave us the gut to resist a rule everybody knows is a standing order. We came out looking like boys among men and women. We insisted however that the rules would not apply in our room and that any of the girls that may be invited should seek alternative environment for their action. Of course there were threats and plenty jeers and taunts throughout the period of the exams, but we stood our ground.
Anyone can interpret this story in any way, but I shared it to buttress that being different or walking in holiness should not make us timid, rather it should make us bold. I do not believe that Christians should avoid gatherings they should go to just because they won’t fit in. Go there and show your ‘otherness’ (unless of course the gathering is a threat to your faith). Don’t avoid office events because they serve alcohol. Go there and request for fruit juice boldly. Don’t fail to speak up because you will sound differently, that is actually what god set you up to be-different.
You cannot change the world by hiding from it. Whether it is on social media or from person to person engagements, stand up for what you are convinced of. Engage in discussions about politics, healthy ones of course. Speak up for what is right and godly. Of course this also calls for you as a Christian to stock up your mind. Read books, on a variety of subjects, read news and current affairs, keep up with what is happening around you so as to be able to engage in meaningful conversations. If you know about something, it is unlikely you would be timid to discuss about it. Don’t let the world force you into its mold, but also don’t let the world push you off into a corner where you go to hide and mourn your faith and wonder if you should not tone down your righteous stance. It is an aberration that those who have the higher moral standard are hiding from those whose morals are depraved. Gays and lesbians and depraved people of society are now more in your face than those who fear the Lord, haba now! Because the world is trying to bully you into silence. Like W. B. Yeast said in ‘The second coming’; ‘The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity’. It is an aberration. It should not be so.
Philippians 2:15 says; ‘that you may be blameless and sinless, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation among whom you shine forth as light in in the world’. This light is not for your house, it is not even for the church, it is for the world. 1 Timothy 1:7 says that what God has given us is a spirit of Power and love and calm and well balanced mind and discipline and self-control (Amplified Bible). Flaunt it. Flaunt that spirit. Your righteousness is a bright light blinding the corrupt of the world, don’t dim it. Of course don’t be vain and do it for vainglory (that won’t be righteousness of course but self-righteousness). But don’t run off and hide because somebody thinks your own is too much. As a matter of fact, your own must be too much. If your righteousness does not exceed those of the Pharisees, you are not there yet. So stir the deposit in you and go light your world.