Good Morning Brothers…
A couple months ago, I was contacted by a dad who wanted me to give “bow hunting” lessons to his son. This request took me by surprise and I felt kind of weird about it. I know plenty of hunters with more experience and more success than I’ve had over the years. Hunting is one of those things that is never truly mastered. Every season and every new scenario brings additional information to our experience and often enough…new frustrations. There really isn’t a 10 step checklist to success when it comes to bow hunting. The variables of wind, weather, humidity, time of year, moon phase, and on an on an on…all impact a hunt. I can teach the mechanics of shooting a bow but I can’t teach a response to ‘buck fever’. The conversation made me think about a similar conversation I had about 15 years ago. I was transitioning from a career as a Fireman to a career as a Timberframer. I signed us up to display at a Home Show in Wichita and the response I received from my fellow fireman was, “Wow…that’s pretty bold.”
Bold. What causes a man to be bold? The world defines boldness in terms of power. Specifically, the power to persuade. There are 3 types of persuasive power:
- Role Power
- Expert Power
- Relationship Power
Role power is the persuasiveness of our position. Our boss can speak boldly to us because he has the power of the paycheck, the power of hiring and firing, the power of promotion. Expert power is the persuasiveness of superior knowledge. Our Doctor can speak boldly to us about health issues because he has knowledge in the field we do not. Relationship power is two-fold. It can either be the persuasiveness of our loved one because of the love shared, or, it can be the “it” factor of a natural born leader. As human beings we recognize the persuasive power different people have over us because of these 3 categories and expect them to speak boldly, act boldly, and inspire us to boldness as well.
When I think of Scripture and speaking boldly, I think of Jesus and I think of the Apostles. The Book of Acts is full of proclamations of truth by the Apostles and the Gospel accounts are full of bold statements by our Lord. What is interesting, is that these bold statements, these examples of persuasive power, did not line up with the 3 categories listed above. Jesus was called ‘Rabbi’ but did not possess some theology degree. The Apostles were low born blue collar types who amazed the crowds because of their lack of education. The persuasive power that filled them with boldness was not due to their earthly position, or expert knowledge, or their relational “it” factor. It was because of God’s anointing. It was because of God’s choosing. It was because of God’s grace distributed through the gift of the Holy Spirit. In 2 Timothy 1:7, Paul writes to his protege and reminds him, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
The persuasive power we are given is not timid. It enables us to walk through life with power, with love, and with discipline. It is a gift which is intended to be given to others and will be re-supplied by the Almighty as long as we are giving it away. Our cup will not become empty. Paul talks about the method needed to insure our cup spilling over in Ephesians 6: 18-20, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
In order for this boldness for Christ to come forth, we must pray for God’s grace to continually pour into us. Paul makes the point that we all need to speak boldly, but our words and prayers must be in the Spirit, not the flesh. If we start to proclaim Christ in our flesh, in effect…turning off grace, our cup will run empty and we will be a shell. We will become timid, we will remember righteousness but will not be operating in it fully. This is the importance of prayer. Prayer links us to God through relationship. Prayer opens us up to experiential knowledge of Him and not theological opinions of Him. The words of Scripture are intended to lead us into a prayerful relationship with God the Father, through Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit. This relationship is missional in nature because it drives us to be bold and proclaim His Holy Name. It is also incarnational because we are letting the Holy Spirit lead. When we let the Holy Spirit lead, we are projecting the life of Christ in us, and through us, onto the world around us.
When Jesus returned from the desert, He came to Nazareth, His home town, and entered the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read from the Book of Isaiah. This is what He read:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
And then He sat sat down and said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
That is bold.
Here’s the thing, with Christ inside of us, we are called to fulfill this passage as well. This is the mission statement of God for this world. Written by Isaiah long ago, fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and carried out through us. The persuasive power within us is God Himself trying to bust through our independence in order to carry out His mission for the lost and fallen. He has the persuasive power of role, expert, and relationship but wraps all of these characteristics up in love. Love for us and love for the world. He wants to use us…to proclaim His Holy Name.
Everything about that…is bold.