Wednesday, February 13

Don’t shrink back

Scripture: Leviticus 20-22, Acts 20

Acts 20:20 I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house…

Acts 20:27 For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.

Observation

Acts 20 records Paul’s farewell speech to the elders (pastors) of Ephesus.  It is a beautiful, moving speech, filled with insight.  Paul wants them to know that he held nothing back, that he gave them everything he had and now it’s up to them.  

Twice he uses the word “shrink.” It is a word that means, “to withdraw, to draw back; to shrink back, avoid; be timid or hesitant.”  He didn’t hold back anything he thought would be profitable or helpful.  And he didn’t hold back from declaring “the whole purpose of God”—all God’s will, plan or purpose.

Application

First, don’t shrink back!  Don’t be afraid.  Don’t hesitate to speak the truth.  I hold back for several reasons.  

  • Because I’m a compulsive people pleaser.
  • Because I want to be liked.
  • Because I don’t want to offend.
  • Because I don’t like conflict.
  • Because I want everyone to be happy.

However, withholding the truth is not loving.  When we love people, we do what is best for them; we share truth and grace, just as Jesus did.  We have to believe that telling the truth is best for everyone.

Second, this means sharing the gospel.  That’s obviously the context here.  Paul didn’t shrink back from declaring the gospel—the whole plan and purpose of God.  I want to be bold and never hesitate to point people to Jesus!

Third, this means sharing whatever is helpful, profitable, beneficial or useful.  This seems like it would be easy, but often it’s not.  What is helpful or beneficial may also be hard to hear and put into practice—hard truth.  Which leads to the final application:

Fourth, this means speaking the last 5%.  Often, we tell people 95% of the truth, but shrink back from the last 5%, the hard part, and often the most needed.  I have friends who will ask me if I’m sharing the last 5%—I always appreciate the reminder to speak the hard truth, the last 5%.

Don’t shrink back!

Prayer: Lord, give me the courage to not shrink back, but to boldly speak the truth in love.