Boldness. The word itself conjures up a host of images to different people. Perhaps when you hear boldness, you think of your favorite superhero. But, you might also think of an ordinary person whom you really admire. Maybe you think of the person who stood up for you when no one else would or the person who told the truth when a lie would have been much easier.
Boldness is not a trait I always think I have. Sure, I’ll do something here and there that might be considered “bold” but generally speaking, those are exceptions rather than the rule. Boldness in the body of Christ is for pastors or the worship team who have to sing facing a group of people. At least, that’s what I like to tell myself. But the text this past week in Acts 4 challenges the idea that boldness is not something that is a part of the ordinary life of a believer.
Focusing in on verses 23-31 of Chapter 4, we see John and Peter meeting with fellow believers right after being released from prison for proclaiming the gospel of Christ. The first thing they begin to do is praise God. There is a recognition of power and an understanding that present struggles pale in comparison to the eternal glory of God. With this truth in mind, they then pray, “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to Your servants to continue to speak Your word with all boldness, while You stretch out Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.”(v29-30) After they finished praying, the scripture says their meeting place shook as they were filled with the Holy Spirit and that they then continued to proclaim the gospel with boldness.
Keep in mind that this was simply a group of believers. They were not an elite dream-team that did all the heroic work while other believers continued to live in comfort. They all joined together in a prayer for boldness and, after being filled with the Spirit, all of them continued to boldly proclaim the Gospel. This realization brought about a holy conviction. When was the last time I prayed specifically for boldness?
If this is a shared conviction, I encourage you to remember who God is in light of our present reality. The sovereign, unchangeable God is leading as we walk in obedience to tell others what Christ has done and make God known. Time and time again in the passage, we see that when the gospel is proclaimed, the Holy Spirit is present. When we pray for boldness, we can rest in the fact that boldness does not come from our own abilities, but from the Holy Spirit. Let this be our prayer this week; to walk with God in boldness because God is present, all powerful, and worthy of all glory.