Sacred Agents #128

A Particular Kind of Boldness

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 4:31

It takes courage on multiple levels to live as a representative of Jesus Christ. Courage before Christ himself, to have the nerve to say Yes, Lord, I’ll be your person in this place as opposed to Master, I know you are a hard man … so I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground.

But courage also, of course, in the face of the world, because when we endeavour out in Jesus’ name, we’re likely to receive the same full gamut of different responses that Jesus himself received – welcomed and honoured through to mocked, despised and rejected.

Now this is nothing to do with success or failure. If you board a ship and share Christ, all 100 passengers may receive you happily. Or they may hate you and throw you overboard. Neither outcome necessarily means you’ve represented Jesus well or badly. Each could be a beautiful worship and service to Jesus. The point is, it’s out of your control. There is no way to program the mission of God so that an outcome is guaranteed. God refuses to simply reprogram the robots, but instead makes himself vulnerable to rejection. (Paradoxically, wonderfully, he wins our hearts through having his broken.)

So the boldness we need, and the boldness the first disciples sought and received from God, is not an imperviousness to rejection, like a coat of armour so strong we can simply crash through and feel no pain. On the contrary, it is the courage to feel that pain.

It’s interesting that the word gallantry has two main definitions: ‘Great bravery in battle’ and ‘polite and respectful attention in courtship’. Do you see how these are linked? Both involve the willingness to be shot down. The boldness that sacred agents need by the Spirit is this Christlike form of boldness. It steps out from behind safe cover. It takes the first steps forward toward the other because they have God’s attention and God’s respect. It is prepared to suffer pain, but it takes pains not to inflict it.

The more we can take that posture and those steps in all the places God sends us, the more likely we are to in fact receive a very positive response. So let’s spend less time calculating our chances and more time asking God for his kind of boldness. If you’re thinking of inviting someone to church, or Alpha etc – worry less about whether they might say no, than about how their life may be if no one invites them at all.

Author: Andrew Turner is the Director of Crossover for Australian Baptist Ministries

Photo by Manfred Richter (CC)

Share this via: