I have a friend who inspires me in my walk with Christ– especially in regards to his boldness when sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with others. When I first met him he had only been a Christian for less than 2 years. And during that time he had earned the reputation for being one of those on-fire-for-Jesus-new-believer types. My friend is a big guy and has a big personality so this only added to his fervor in telling people about Jesus. But for many different reasons many Christians advised him that he needed to tone down.
Whether my friend was given this advice because people were trying to truly help or whether my friends’ enthusiasm for the Gospel was intimidating Christians who were being convicted of their own faithlessness, the advice remained the same, tone down. So being the reckless enthusiast that I am I told my friend that he should not tone down, but get better! Yes, my friend put his foot in his mouth a few times, but that is not sufficient reason to tone down. The problem wasn’t my friends’ zeal for the Gospel. The problem was he had not been trained how to properly handle that excitement.
The reason why firemen learn how to properly handle a fire hose is so that they can use it at full strength. I really can’t imagine a fire Chief telling one of his crew members to turn down the water pressure to a trickle because that is the only amount of pressure his team can safely handle. Rather, the Chief makes sure that the team knows how to use the hose at full strength properly. With good intention my friend was told to tone down his vigor for the Gospel, but the good intentions were misinformed. What my friend needed was to learn how to handle his excitement in a way that was more effective at full strength.
I tell you all of this to show you that Christians need to stop telling other Christians to tone down. Wouldn’t it be better if Christians offered to help each other to get better– better at preaching the Gospel, better at living holy lives, better at understanding truth, and even better at addressing the evil that plagues the world around us.
Christian brother and sister, as we are trying to show the world around us the truth and love of Christ I am asking you to step outside of what is comfortable to you and to seek the help of those different than yourself to become better; find those with different gifts and talents, find those with different life and cultural experiences, find those who stretch you in your faith. Why? So that you can purse a life that honors God by being better at what you are passionate about. Whatever you do, whatever you have been told, don’t tone down– get better!