Boldness is our willingness to venture out and do the right thing at the right time, regardless of the barriers or fears we may encounter. This enables us to speak the truth, and perform a task without fear of the consequences or results, because, it is the right, and Biblical thing to do. It is realizing that God is in control. He is there within, and beside us, and He will take care of us. Therefore, we do not need to fear what others can do; rather, we are to concentrate on our character and call, and do it with passion and conviction. (Genesis 6; 1 Kings 18; Proverbs 28:1; Isaiah 7:9; Daniel 3,6; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8; 7:16; Ephesians 6:13-14; Hebrews 13:6).
Cowardice, Fearfulness, Cynicism, Negativity, Discouragement, and Pessimism are all opposites. These negative traits create a negative attitude that is infectious to others. It causes people not to take the chance to go forward with what God is calling them to. Thus, the person and/or church remains ensnared in fear, allowing obstacles to stop them so that the work our Lord has for them remains undone.
The 16th century Scottish Reformer, John Knox (1505-1572), was famous for his slogan, O God! Give me Scotland or I die! He was a person who boldly spoke the truth of the Christian faith to a nation in transition-from apostate Catholicism, its harmful and repressive Theology as well as its prideful leaders-to a godlier, Protestant nation. He was able to challenge leaders who used religion as a way to control society. He faced many dangers, many imprisonments and beatings, but, he succeeded in his mission by bringing Reformation to Scotland. One time, while he was preaching in his packed church in Scotland, he was arrested for teaching the Bible outside of the "Church." He was put in chains, then forced to be a "slave" and do the harshest and lowest job ever conceived, row the oars of a galley ship. For the duration of those long months of pushing and pulling oars, he was able to spend that time in surrendered prayer and devotion to God. At the same time, he was also able to build his frail body and strengthen his health, through diet and exercise. He was able to gain physical strength, and, most importantly, strengthen his prayer life. This forever changed him into a deep person of spiritual maturity, and gave him even greater boldness and physical strength to preach the Word-regardless of the cost. John Knox's passion and preaching became so powerful that the corrupt Mary Queen of Scotland said, I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the assembled armies of Europe. She eventually lost her head in England. The rest of the corrupt leaders met dishonorable ends, too. On John's tomb are these words, Here lies the man who never feared the face of clay. He was able to use Boldness, tempered by the Spirit, to change a nation and create a denomination. We have to ask ourselves, what are we doing? We may not change the course of history, but, we can change the course of our lives, and perhaps the people we touch, too!
Boldness comes from the confidence we have in Christ-who He is, and what He can do. This attitude directly affects how we respond to any given situation. When we have confidence in our Lord, we can venture beyond our limits, abilities, and comfort zones to engage in the simple things of life-from talking to a stranger in a kind encouraging way, or sharing the Gospel with a friend-to the big stretches, such as, going overseas to a strange and foreign land as a missionary. I can do all things. Paul said. Not because he was this great and powerful man, but because he knew His God, and what He could do! We will not fear what others can do to us, just as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego demonstrated. They knew God could save them. They just did not know if He would save them. But, whatever God did, they trusted Him for it, even if the furnace took their lives away. So, they could walk into that furnace with confidence, whatever the results might be. God chose to do a miracle. And, even if He had not, how we respond is more important than any miracle we may receive.
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character, this Fruit of Boldness, from God's most precious Word, by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:
- How do I exhibit Boldness in my daily life?
- What can I do to develop a better willingness to take a calculated and wise chance?
- What blocks Boldness from working and being exhibited in me?
- How can I make Boldness function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?
· Here are positive examples from Scripture (1 Samuel 17; Daniel 3; 6:1-26; Acts 5; Romans 10:20; 2 Corinthians 10:1-6)
· Here are negative examples from Scripture (Job 15:20-31; 18:11; Daniel 5:1-7; Matthew 18:21-35; Mark 8:31-33; Galatians 3:1-5)
- How would you define Boldness? Are you a courageous person? If so, what about things you fear, or have not tried before?
- What part does Boldness play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family? If someone is being falsely accused in your presence, do you remain quiet, or do you defend the truth, even if the accusers come against you?
- How does a Negative Attitude counteract Boldness? What is the cost to others (God, family, friends, neighbors, church, workplace, etc.) when you are a person who is Discouraging to others?
- What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you, when you are Cynical with others?
- When have you been filled with Boldness the most? What does it take to share your faith to a friend, stranger, or family member? Which is harder? Why?
- Can you think of a situation where you failed to be Bold although you should have been?
- What issue is in your life that would improve with more Boldness? Do you just cave in to fear, and allow obstacles to block your path?
- Think through the steps you need to take to put Boldness into action in a specific instance-such as, how could you take the chance to share your faith when you might be afraid to? How can you correct a false teaching in such a way as to encourage the teacher, yet, point out the error? How can you refuse to listen to gossip without being a prude? How can you be ready to explain to those who do not know the Lord, or are new to the faith, what it means to be committed to following God's Ways? How can you be unafraid, and not allow foolish friends and detrimental influences steer you in the wrong direction?