Ravi Zacharias, if anyone doesn’t know, is an Indian-born Christian with a longer bio than I have space for in this daily column. The main thing is that his niche in the body of Christ is teaching Christian apologetics through the authoring of books, the hosting of his radio program, and lectures at such places as Cambridge University. (Years ago I attended a seminar he gave for WORLD Journalism Institute students in North Carolina.)
I received an email earlier this week asking for prayers for him as he prepared to speak at the UN’s annual International Prayer Breakfast on Tuesday. Zacharias wrote:
“I am writing therefore to ask for special prayer this week. The timing couldn’t be more aligned. I am to speak at the United Nations Prayer breakfast tomorrow. … This is a very intimidating setting in which to speak on such a tough theme [the painful question of our human struggle]. Many of the ambassadors will be there from the Middle East. …”
I resonated to the brother’s sense of entering “a very intimidating setting.” I find queues at the post office a very intimidating setting for being bold for Christ. Boldness is in short supply, and comes from the Spirit. I notice that whenever the Spirit falls on people in the book of Acts, it is to give them boldness to speak out in Christ’s name.
The Scriptures have a message for Ravi and for you and me, too, to encourage us when we find ourselves facing a tough crowd (that is, anyone who doesn’t belong to your church). I would like to leave us with these words, once spoken to a prophet named Ezekiel, who was commissioned by God to deliver an unpopular address to the people of Israel in their backslidden state:
“Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. Like emery harder than flint have I made your forehead. Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. … all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears … and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,’ whether they hear or refuse to hear” (Ezekiel 3:8-11).
That’s the Spirit!