Today we’re talking about Donna‘s one-little-word, BOLD. My dictionary defines it as “1] having courage, fearless; 2] showing or requiring courage, daring, a bold plan; 3] presuming unduly, brazen, forward.”
When I think of bold, too often that third definition comes to mind. I don’t want to have a pushy, brazen, putting-myself-forward boldness. But the boldness that is fearless and has the courage of its convictions—oh yes, bring it on!
Relating boldness to my spiritual journey, I am saddened by how opposite to bold I often am. I read in Acts about the disciples getting warned to stop preaching or they’ll be put in prison. They prayed after getting those warnings, not that the resistance would stop but for boldness, so they could keep on doing what they were doing (Acts 4:29). I ask myself, would I pray the same way?
I am reminded of all the people in the world who are now being persecuted and massacred for their faith. Just last weekend there was another slaughter of Christians in Lahore, Pakistan.
In North America, where being a Christian doesn’t hold those kinds of risks, boldness needs another face. I love how Peter describes the boldness that his persecuted readers were to show. It applies just as well to us in countries where Christianity is, shall we say, tolerated, but becoming increasingly politically incorrect:
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear, having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed” – 1 Peter 3:15,16 (emphasis added).
Of course we can’t ignore the miracles that bolstered the New Testament believers’ faith and contributed not a little to their boldness. People were healed and raised from the dead at their hands. (No wonder they couldn’t keep quiet and crowds kept flocking to them!) Though their refusal to keep silent in the face of persecution sometimes led to martyrdom, the life of one persecutor, Saul, was miraculously turned around one afternoon and the result was the spread of Christianity throughout Europe and Asia.
I would like a boldness that includes the possibility of the miraculous. A few years ago when I was reading in the Quest Study Bible, I came across a statement that puzzled me. I quote it in the epigram to the poem I wrote then, and share below.
I ask “Why not?”
“Should Christians today imitate what Christians did in the Book of Acts? Not necessarily.” (Commentary on Acts 11:27-30, Quest Study Bible)
I ask, Why not?
We still have the sick, lame and oppressed.
We still have those who don’t understand
. what they hear, what they read.
We still have rulers and laws that say, “Don’t preach!”
We still have kings who look on themselves as God.
We still have famines, natural disasters,
. wars, and dispersing persecution.
We still have a religious establishment
. which is more concerned with pleasing “Caesar”
. than obeying God.
We still have the champions of the churchy status quo.
In other words, we still have the same foe.
And we still have the same
final words of Christ:
“But you will receive power
when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”*
© 2007 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)
This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday hosted by
Holly Mueller at Reading, Teaching, Learning.
*Words of Jesus quoted from Acts 1:8.