I recently was talking with a student about following Jesus. He is still on the fence about believing in Jesus. He says that it is hard for him to believe in something he has not seen. He has come to the youth group where I pastor for about a year, and we have had many conversations about his faith.
He has gone through some difficult things that I think hi-jacked some of his faith that he has as a young child. Throughout our conversations, he has shared different reason why he is apprehensive about committing himself completely to Jesus. I have appreciated his honesty very much.
Recently, I was asking him if anything would hold him back from giving his life to Jesus. He stated, “Peer pressure.” I asked him to expound. He said, “All my friends would be like, ‘who is this guy, he’s all about Jesus all the sudden.'” He continued, “It would not line up with the way I act now, and I just don’t wanna have to endure what would come along with being a Christian in my friend group.”
Again, you have to appreciate his honesty. And I am glad that he is counting the cost. Follow Jesus comes with a cost. There are two sides: the world and Jesus. And you can’t be on both sides.
There are two portions of Scripture that come to mind in regard to my conversation with my young friend. First, Proverbs 29:25 states, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” Right now this student is in that snare. It seems safer to be accepted by his friends, not make any waves, not experiences any mocking or jeering. But this thought is truly a trap, like an imaginary fence keeping him from the safety of Jesus.
The next Scripture that comes to mind is Jesus words in Matthew 10:32-33, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” Jesus doesn’t want closet followers. He wants us to confess him before those around us. He states that if we deny Him, He will deny us.
That is a tough thought. Being denied by Jesus. We want to think of Jesus as the cuddly, accepting everyone, ‘come unto me’ guy…but His admonition here carry a different tone. Yes, He welcomes us in, but He wants us to welcome Him in too.
While this is true of our salvation, it is also true of our testimony to others and evangelism. We need to keep confessing Christ to people daily through our actions and words. Let’s not try to make ourselves famous (and potentially leave Jesus out), let’s try to make Jesus famous.
As I close, I am reminded of Peter. If you remember, he denied Jesus right before Jesus was crucified. And not just once, but THREE times! Thank God for his grace as he reinstated Peter and gave him courage again to confess Him to those around him.
If you have been ashamed of Jesus lately, or hiding your faith- let me encourage you to draw from God’s grace and make him famous today. Let’s pray together, “God, let them see You in Me.”