The Holy Boldness that’s needed today
Holy boldness might look different today then it did even a decade ago.
A decade ago a conversation about faith, with the everyday person in your neighbourhood might end with a polite, “I’m glad that works for you.” Today you’re less likely to receive such a cordial, tip of the hat, pacifying response. You are more likely to encounter a hostile eye roll, or a brash “Come-on.” ” Seriously?” ” I’m as spiritual as the next person but you don’t believe in that old religious stuff, do you?” This response will definitely amp up if you venture to discuss Biblical faith’s conclusions on marriage, value of life, sexual identity, and political or nationalistic pride (plus a hand full of other hot topics).
What are Christians to do in hostile climates and with cultural topics where orthodox Bible believing values are seen as an invitation to a fight?
Holy Boldness is Spirit-Led
Acts 2 we are told of the greatest gift ever bestowed on the believer, the Holy Spirit. The third person of the Trinity. The Spirit of God is given yes, to strengthen, to come-alongside of, those who have placed faith in the work of God’s Son, Jesus. But the third person of the Holy Trinity is not simply an outsider to the life of the believer, but an insider. He comes to indwell and to fill and to refill the believer.
To be filled by the Holy Spirit biblically is not a simple or narrow* aspect of the Christian experience. There can be made strong biblical arguments for what happens, or what results from a believer having been baptized and or filled with the Holy Spirit.
One thing is clear a holy boldness in speaking the truth of Christ’s saving is a result of the Holy Spirit’s filling a believer.
John 15:26–27 But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Acts 4:31 – After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Acts 9:28 – So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.
Acts 13:46 – Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.”
Acts 14:3 – So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders.
Acts 19:8 – Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.
Speaking in Holy boldness takes first of all a sensitivity to, and a reliance on God’s Spirit or being filled with, walking in the Spirit.
Holy Boldness is Gospel-Led
Speaking in Holy boldness understands that the conversation ultimately needs the Good news of Christ’s work. This good news brings to bear the power of God in the life of all those included in the conversation.
Mark 16:15– And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
Romans 1:16- For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
1 Corinthians 1:17- For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
1 Corinthians 9:16- For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
Holy Boldness is more than just speaking your mind
Holy boldness leads in discussions that matter and not simply arguments. Too many Christians are either guilty of disengaging, shying away from or blasting dogmatic arguments when it comes to hostile conversations. These responses prove neither to be Spirit led or Gospel filled. To disengage proves that we are not being captured by the lostness and the need for saving in those we are called to love. To lead with the double-barrel shot gun of our theological arguments is to be insensitive to the Holy Spirit’s work already happening in these lives (John 16:8-11). Our friends and neighbours need Holy Spirit led, gospel concerned engagement in the most difficult of cultural conversations. This maybe more true now then in any other time of the last 20 years. The answers that our secular liberal culture offer are beginning to unravel, leaving people’s lives victimized. Many are finding themselves disenchanted, confused, even lost by what promised them life but cannot deliver.
This is the time for Christians to let the Gospel be known. To talk through, at every opportunity, the gaps or absences of soul satisfying love, hope, joy and peace. To do the kind work of wrestling with the world’s self-centred ideologies. To help our friends see the final conclusions as broken as they will be if they continue. These are not simply arguments to win or lose; These are Spirit-led opportunities to bring our community to the hope and power of the Gospel of Christ.
Holy Boldness done well
Holy Boldness done well is more than just speaking your mind.
It should include:
- Listening well – listening to issues of the heart and life and not simply to inform or argue head knowledge.
- Looking for Gospel gaps– everyone, everywhere, for all of time lives out of a philosophy for life or what they believe works for them. This is most often a life based on a nugget of truth but built upon self-inflated lies. There are obvious gaps where Gospel truth is missing.
- Storying wisely– Our Christian life is a constant work of Christ having saved, saving and will one day know the fullness of salvation. There is a gospel work that continues throughout the story God is writing in our lives. Our story can be a powerful witness. It is however not to be a witness to our own power but to the power of God’s super-abundant grace in our lives.
- Serving in genuine love– Holy boldness without holy love in action is like a clanging symbol or an annoying alarm clock. It might have an awaking affect on others but it doesn’t give them the desire to get moving. Bold actions of love should accompany holy boldness in words.
Holy boldness is more than persuasion by words. It is contending for the faith by speaking truth into cultural lies. It is loving people where they are with a Spirit-led, Gospel-filled life that will move them towards Christ.
*Using narrow here in the sense of simply one aspect, limited in extent or scope.
Thanks for reading;