A Call to Live Boldly

A Call to Live Boldly 

by Adrian Williams


As we see the many stories about the heroic and self-sacrificing actions of doctors, paramedics, and other first responders, we cannot help but think of the courage they have to muster up daily as they go about doing their jobs of saving lives. Another word for that courage is boldness. Oftentimes we confuse boldness with fearlessness. When I think of the aforementioned groups, I’m reminded of the words so eloquently spoken by Nelson Mandela:

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

While I don’t consider myself bold by nature, looking from an outside perspective I can see where others might think so. Consider that at the age of seventeen, I joined the Navy and embarked on a journey that led me to spend the next eighteen years living overseas; traveling to six of the seven continents and living in both Japan and Australia. During that time, I never thought of that as being bold at all. Eating food that I had never tasted before, going out and exploring places to which I had never been, or being out to sea with no land in sight for days all seemed like just a part of that stage in my life. However, looking back, I can see where natural boldness was a major factor in all that I accomplished and the places I went.

Natural Vs. Spiritual Boldness
While I may have many of the traits of natural boldness, spiritual boldness didn’t come so easy for me. Often we mistake one for the other. They may appear similar, but that’s where it ends. Having natural boldness is no guarantee of spiritual boldness and vice versa. We can have one and not have the other, we can have both, or have neither one of them. They are two entirely separate things with outward similarities but each having its own different source, appearance, and consequence.

Natural boldness has everything to do with self. It’s an aspect of our nature, personality, conditioning, education, and all the things that go into making us who and what we are on a natural level. It’s the kind of boldness that is entirely dependent on our sense of worth, our confidence in our abilities, and our drive to achieve, succeed, and remain in control. Spiritual boldness, on the other hand, has its source in God alone. God is the sovereign source of spiritual boldness, and he will only release it to transform and empower us in doing the work of his kingdom.

Spiritual Boldness Recipe
Spiritual boldness contains three ingredients: Spirit-empowered conviction, courage, and urgency. If any one of these ingredients is missing, we won’t act boldly. Without sufficient conviction that something ought to be said or done, what’s there to be bold about? Without sufficient courage, we don’t have enough fiber in our conviction to face opposition or threats. Without a sufficient sense of urgency, we lack the fire under our feet to get us moving. So, if we as Christians are half-hearted, fearful, or indifferent, by definition we are lacking that spiritual boldness. I am convinced that many followers who do not witness for Christ are paralyzed with fear. It isn’t that we don’t love the Lord, nor is it that we don’t care about the lost. It is simply that we have allowed the enemy to intimidate us. What most of us need is an infusion of boldness—a boldness that only the Lord can give us. Boldness is not constant or taken for granted. While boldness is not an option, it is also not a given.

Biblical Pictures of Boldness
Trusting in God’s vision for our lives helps to develop our boldness. Moses was motivated by God’s vision of working through him to save his people, the Jews, from the suffering they were experiencing. He gained courage because he trusted in God’s promise that he would be with him through this journey. In turn, Moses’s bravery inspired the Jews to follow his lead through the parting of the Red Sea to escape the Egyptians.

“But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt? He said, ‘But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain’” (Exodus 3:11, 12, ESV).

David had courage because of the countless times that God protected him from danger in his past. He had steadfast confidence that God would deliver him against opposition. David acted on faith to fight Goliath with a slingshot, and God gave him victory.

“And David said to Saul, ‘Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.’ . . . And David said, ‘The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the Lord be with you!’” (1 Samuel 17:32, 33, 37, NIV).

Daniel’s boldness grew through praying three times a day even though it was against the law. His honor of God in prayer overpowered the temptation to be afraid of people. His devotion to God inspired King Darius, a foreign king, to write to all nations in their day to fear and revere God.

“Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: ‘Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God . . .” (Daniel 6:25, 26, ESV.)

Boldness Builders
So how do we develop spiritual boldness such as seen in the lives of Moses, David, and Daniel? Reading and trusting in God’s Word like Moses is a boldness builder; remembering God’s faithfulness and provisions in the past will bring us boldness in the face of our Goliaths like David; being grateful for all that God has done for us helps us gain the boldness needed to face seemingly dangerous and uncertain situations like Daniel.

The early Christians knew that the source to all their boldness rested in the Lord. They prayed for boldness. In answer to prayer, fear melted away and they received a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit and renewed boldness to keep speaking.

“And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31, ESV).

The boldest Christians are those whose confidence rests solidly in Jesus. This causes them to approach God’s throne with boldness, which in turn makes them come away even bolder. That’s the way we need to live our lives, and in our day and time, God is calling us to live boldly for him! What is one bold thing God is calling you to do today?

Adrian Williams has been a member of Christ’s Church for three years. As a founding member of the John Maxwell Leadership Team, certified executive coach, facilitator, and speaker, discipleship is his passion.

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