I have been praying lately for more boldness. This is something which also the disciples asked for prayer.
"And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word." Acts 4:29
"And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." Ephesians 6:19-20
Variations of the world "bold" appear various times in the Scriptures, but do you know where it appears the most? In the book of Acts. At the birth of the church, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples of Jesus Christ and changed them dramatically. Where they had once been afraid, they were now bold. I can think of few other words which so appropriately describe their preaching.
"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled..." Acts 4:13
"...they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness" Acts 4:31
"...he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus." Acts 9:27
"And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus..." Acts 9:29
"Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold..." Acts 13:46
"Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord" Acts 14:3
"And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue..." Acts 18:26
"And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months..." Acts 19:8
They needed boldness, not only because they were facing persecution, but because the pressure against Christians to be quiet is supernatural. The satanic powers in the heavenlies attempt to pervert the atmosphere globally so as to prevent the Gospel from being preached. There are spiritual powers at work to stop the mouths of Christians and prevent the testimony of Jesus Christ from being proclaimed, because Satan knows that once this happens, the end will come (Matthew 24:14).
This is why, whenever we preach Jesus, we are engaging in a spiritual war. It is not just about handing out a tract, but we are by virtue of our testimony engaging in a warfare. It is not something to be taken lightly. If we do not understand this, then we will clam up instead of standing for Christ.
"But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.
For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts." I Thessalonians 2:2-4
bold: Greek word parrēsiazomai meaning to speak freely, with confidence and without concealment; to show assurance.The disciples preached the Gospel with much contention. They were not being contentious with people, but they were wrestling in combat with the rulers of darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places. They were fighting against those supernatural forces aiming to shut them up. They were fighting against the demonic strongholds which held captive the minds of the people. They were fighting the good fight of faith. They were fighting...and we must do the same.
contention: Greek word agōn meaning the place of contest, the arena or stadium; any struggle, conflict, fight, or battle.
One area where the Lord has dealt with me about this recently was in phrasing what "I believe". A situation occurred where I had to address an unbelieving, elder family member regarding matters of faith. I thought about what I should say and how I could be respectful. "Well, you see, what we believe is..." God stopped me cold in my tracks.
He was quick to bring to my mind that the Gospel is not merely about what "I believe". Lots of people have beliefs; they are as numerous and often as [in]valuable as opinions. If I am entreating someone about the Gospel on the basis that it is what "I believe", then I might as well be talking to them about joining Islam, becoming a Buddhist, or being an atheist. Either what I believe has the weight of truth or it does not; and if so, then that is the only basis upon which others should believe it as well. By presenting the Gospel as merely something I believe, I was downgrading and misrepresenting it, and would only wind up at most making converts to my way of thinking and not disciples of Christ (Matthew 23:15).
The Lord had me reflect upon where in Scripture I had ever heard someone speak in this manner, and I could think of not one instance. While the disciples would compell others to believe, they never prefaced their preaching with "Well, my understanding is...the way I see it...what I believe..." They spoke the truth, and they proclaimed it with authority and certainty. They were bold.
The world would have you think that all beliefs are equal and have similar merit. It would make you feel that you have to respect the beliefs of others by giving ear to false views or pretending that those views hold some scintilla of truth. This is a lie of the devil. People are free to believe what they like, but that doesn't make those beliefs true. When we share the Gospel, we are not just sharing what "we believe". We are sharing the only truth which can set them free!
The only way we can speak boldly, not as pleasing men (I Thessalonians 2:2-4), is to not be focused on ourselves and our lives in this world. I don't want to mentally ascend to being bold. I don't want to imagine how I will be the one who speaks up in the face of adversity. If I have not crucified the flesh, then I am deluding myself. I am praying for more boldness, and I pray it for my brothers and sisters as well.
Speak the truth...and speak the truth with boldness!