I have often wished I felt more bold to speak the Gospel – or even simply stopping to pray with someone or do something for them that would display the love of Christ. But so often when I am faced with these opportunities, I find myself trembling. I don’t feel bold … one. single. bit. And much to my regret, I have justified not speaking or acting because of these feelings. “When the feelings of boldness come,” I reason, “then I’ll obey.”
Because of this, I have missed out on opportunities to display the light and life of Christ to those in darkness, and have ultimately acted in disobedience to Him. Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:18-20 is not optional for Believers – He doesn’t say, “Go and make disciples if you feel bold enough to do so.” He simply says, “Go…”
In Acts 4, followers of Jesus are gathered together praying after Peter and John returned from speaking to the Pharisees. They had been threatened not to speak about Jesus anymore, and in verse 29, they prayed, “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness.” They knew they needed continual grace to be able to speak the truth with boldness – that they didn’t have what it would take in and of themselves.
The common assumption is that boldness is a feeling, but it’s actually not. It is doing something out of confidence and belief that it is true no matter how we feel. We can do something very boldly and confidently with shaky knees and racing heart, and we will do it if we care more about obeying Christ than anything else. God has given each one of His children the Holy Spirit, and it is through Him that we have the ability to speak boldly when we don’t feel like we can.
In the moments I have chosen not to be obedient to share the Gospel, I was depending upon my own strength, not the power of the Holy Spirit living within me. But if I’m depending on the Spirit, I’ll believe I have that boldness whether I feel like it or not. Boldness goes hand-in-hand with faith. The more faith we have, the more confidence we have in the truth of the Gospel. And the more confidence we have, the more boldly we will speak. But this, like a muscle, has to be exercised and built until it becomes strong.
The first few times we share our faith it might be nerve-wracking. But the more we do it, the more our feelings will come into alignment with what we are saying and doing, and nervousness and trembling will turn into calmness and confidence. This will only come through obedience, not by just sitting back passively and waiting for it to happen. The more we obey, the more we will see God’s faithfulness to grant us everything we need to do His will!