Have you noticed that, as a conservative living in America today, there is a target on your back? If you are a Christian conservative, that target is even bigger. If you are a Christian conservative who refuses to bow down to the spirit of the age, the spirit of political correctness, that target is so big that you are a marked man or woman. A person like that—like you—must be silenced.
The mob has spoken. The cultural elites have decided. You are on the wrong side of history. You are a hater and a bigot. You are disqualified, your views must be deleted and you yourself must be canceled. As Pastor Erwin Lutzer wrote, "We who are Christians have been told to stay in our corner, pay homage to the left's revolution and, at best, keep our mouths shut."
I'm here to say that, in Jesus' name and with God's help, we will not keep our mouths shut. We will not be silenced. We will not retreat into the closet.
Instead, the more the world tries to silence us, the more we will shout out our message—not with hatred or anger or malice but with grace and truth, with love and in the power of the Spirit.
Proclaim it with me today: The church of Jesus cannot be canceled! The Word of God cannot be bound! We will not be slaves to fear and human opinion. We are children of God and we live for His approval alone. So be it!
In my newest book, The Silencing of the Lambs: The Ominous Rise of Cancel Culture and How We Can Overcome It, I paint a vivid picture of just how bad things have become in America, from the ideological assault on our children in our schools and on college campuses to the censoring of Big Tech and the tyranny of the radical left.
Every example is carefully documented, and the picture that emerges is frightening indeed. Cancel culture is real, cancel culture is growing and cancel culture is deadly.
We Are Not Ashamed
But I have more than just bad news to share. To the contrary, I wrote The Silencing of the Lambs as a manual for spiritual battle, with most of the chapters of the book devoted to practical strategies we can put in place to overcome cancel culture. Every one of us can make a difference, and without a doubt the tide can be turned.
And that brings me to the announcement of a new national holiday. Mark this date on your calendar: April 14. Circle it and highlight it, not just this year but every year. (We have applied for official recognition, but we can make it into reality starting next month.)
What's so special about April 14? Right now, there's nothing of particular significance about that day in America, other than the fact that it's one day before Tax Day.
But I believe the Lord put it on my heart to proclaim every April 14 as the National Not Ashamed of Jesus Day. On that day, every one of us will make a public statement of our faith in whatever way we can.
You can wear a gospel-themed T-shirt to school or bring a Bible to work and put it on your desk. You can share the Good News with someone new or make a loud and clear proclamation of your faith on social media. Whatever is permitted and whatever is good and right, this will be the day to send a simple and clear message: We are followers of Jesus and we are not ashamed.
After all, if, on April 14, there can be a National Bookmobile Day and a National Dolphin Day and a National Ex-Spouse Day and a National Gardening Day and a National Pecan Day and a National Perfume Day, why can't we have a National Not Ashamed of Jesus Day?
On that day, every single one of us, in whatever way we can, will let the world know we are not ashamed of Jesus. No way, no how! He is our Lord and our master and our Savior and our deliverer and our King, and we are not ashamed to be identified with Him. Let the whole world know that we are His!
You might say, "But shouldn't we do that every day? Shouldn't we look for opportunities to lift up the Lord every day of the week? Shouldn't we always be known as believers?"
Absolutely we should, as the Lord leads and as the doors are open. Being witnesses is our 24/7 calling 365 days a year.
But here's the thing. Many have us have floated under the radar for years. Our colleagues at work don't know we are believers. Our friends don't know about our faith, at least, the depth of our faith. Our neighbors are unaware that we are believers. We may be sincere, but we are stealthy.
In some cases, it's because we have been ashamed of our faith, not wanting to suffer rejection or mockery or reproach. In other cases, it's because we haven't found the right setting to share our testimony or we haven't been forced to stand for our convictions. And so, despite the large number of Jesus-followers in America—we could be as many as 90 or 100 million—it feels as if we are an insignificant minority. We almost feel sorry for ourselves.
The fact is that we are not some tiny, hidden people group forced to cower in the corner in fear for our lives. We are represented in every area of society, from the government to the courts and from the media to the schools. We give tens of billions of dollars every year to Christian and humanitarian causes, we broadcast around the clock on every conceivable media outlet and our messages flood the internet. How wrong of us to have a "Woe is me" mentality. How wrong of us to throw a pity party. How wrong to feel that the odds are stacked against us.
The reality is that if God is for us, no one and nothing can be against us, and if the world kills us, even death does not scare us. We overcome in Him!
We Will Not Be Silenced
Now is our time to arise and shine. Now is the time to come out of our hiding. Now is the time to follow Jesus outside the camp as Hebrews 13 states, bearing the reproach He bore. When we are rejected for Him, that is our honor. The world is treating us the same way it treated our Savior. We are privileged! As Paul wrote to the Philippians, "For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him" (Phil. 1:29). That's why the apostles rejoiced after being flogged by the Sanhedrin; they were counted worthy of suffering on behalf of His name (Acts 5:41).
And note this: Although the Jewish leadership forbade them from preaching and teaching in Jesus' name, giving them a stern warning along with whipping them, the apostles went out and did the exact opposite. As Acts records: "Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah" (Acts 5:42, NIV). May we follow their lead!
This is why I'm proposing a National Not Ashamed of Jesus Day. It's about all of us, on one particular day, declaring to the world around us, "We are followers of Jesus, and we are not ashamed of the gospel." It's about all of us raising our voices together. It's about finding mutual strength. It's about us telling the world, "We are here, we love the Lord and we are not going to be silenced or shamed." It is also our way of saying to the world, "As followers of Jesus, we are here for you. How can we be a blessing in your life?"
Once that is done, your secret is out. You will be approached with questions. You will be watched. You might even be targeted. But, to repeat, this is why we are here: to be witnesses, to testify, to share our faith, to point people to Jesus, to serve this lost generation, to stand for what is right.
And so, on April 14 every year, God helping, we will raise a shout together. We will proclaim to the entire nation, "We will not be silenced!"
What's the significance of this particular date? Why not another day of the year? The reason for this date is Esther 4:14 (thus, 4-14, as in April 14), which quotes the famous words of Mordecai to Queen Esther when their Jewish people were facing mass attack and even annihilation at the provocation of Haman. Mordecai said to her, "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?"
If we are alive today, we are alive by God's will, and that means He put us here in this generation at this very hour, for such a time as this. We are the lambs who will not remain silent, the believers who will not be canceled, the followers of Jesus who will not be muzzled.
We are not ashamed of our Lord. We are not ashamed of His Word. We are not ashamed of His ways. We are not ashamed of His standards. We are not ashamed to be identified with Him. To the contrary, Jesus is our pride and joy, our life. Without Him, we are nothing. With Him, we have everything. Why should we be ashamed of Him?
Really now, when you think about it, it's an odd thing to say, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile" (Rom. 1:16). Who would think of being ashamed of the most wonderful message in the world, a message of forgiveness and freedom, of liberation and love?
If you are a husband, would you introduce your wife whom you love and adore and say, "This is my wife, and I'm not ashamed of her"? Perish the thought. Grandparents, would you introduce your beloved, amazing grandchildren and say, "These are my grandkids, and I'm not ashamed of them"? Never!
Why, then, did Paul say he was not ashamed of the gospel? Why did Jesus say that if we were ashamed of Him, He would be ashamed of us? (See Mark 8:38, Luke 9:26.) Why on earth would we be ashamed of Jesus?
We Stand Up in the Power of the Spirit
Paul's words to Timothy, written from jail, give us some insight: "So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God" (2 Tim. 1:8). And then this: "May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains" (2 Tim. 1:16).
Do you see it? In the first-century Roman world, Jesus was not viewed as a hero. Quite the contrary. The man died a shameful, criminal's death, the most barbaric death known to man, a death reserved for the lowest and worst of transgressors. To be associated with Jesus was to be associated with reproach. It would be equivalent to saying today, "So, you follow that guy on death row who was just electrocuted?" In fact, it would be even worse.
As for Paul, he must have been a criminal, too. After all, the man was considered a troublemaker. The man was in jail. The man was in chains. If you are one of Paul's supporters, then there must be something wrong with you too. And that's how it is in every age: There is reproach associated with Jesus.
But that is a reproach we wear boldly, a reproach we carry with honor, a reproach we are proud to endure. That's because we know who He really is. That's because we have encountered His beauty and glory and power. That's because we understand the depth of His love. And that's why we are not ashamed of Jesus.
On Dec. 20, 2020, feeling deeply gripped by the Spirit, I wrote this in my journal: "I believe God has given me a plan to combat the attempt to silence God's people. April 14, every year (in commemoration of Esther 4:14): National 'Not Ashamed of the Gospel' Day. I believe God has given me a plan!!"
Could it be so? Could this one small step help spark a Spirit-backed, love-empowered movement of holy boldness? Why not?
Now is the time for us to join together and stand and speak and act. In Jesus' name, we will not be silenced. Cancel culture will be overcome by the cross. Our Savior died, and we died with Him. But Jesus also rose from the dead, conquering sin and death. We rose with Him too, and now we live by Him.
For many years now, we have watched LGBT activists overcome the stigma associated with identifying as gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender or queer by being out and proud, also launching the Day of Silence in public schools and National Coming Out Day. This, in turn, has emboldened countless thousands of others to come out of the closet, to overcome their sense of rejection, to face their pain and to be out and proud themselves.
But that was only the beginning. Today, things have shifted to the point that many of those who fought shame and stigma in the past are seeking to shame and stigmatize those who oppose their ideology. Those who came out of the closet want to put us in the closet, but as I've said before, we are not about to go into the closet. No way, no how. And there is no way under heaven that we will allow gays and lesbians and drag queens and trans activists to march proudly down our streets while we are too ashamed to be who we are. Not a chance!
And so, while we pray for those who identify as LGBTQ, while we reach out to those on the radical left, while we bless those who curse us, we also stand up in the power of the Spirit and proclaim to the world, "We are not ashamed to the gospel. We are not ashamed of Jesus. We are not ashamed of God's Word, and we will not be silenced."
Let's make a statement on April 14, and let's live by that statement every day of the year. Let's refuse to be silenced or canceled. As Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, "The time is always right to do what is right."
And whatever we opposition we face, never forget this. The Lamb has gone before us. And just as He cannot be silenced, we too cannot be silenced.
Are you with me?
READ MORE: Explore how believers are standing up against cultural silencing at lambs.charismamag.com.
Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.