When I was 18 years old, like many people my age, I packed up way too many of my “precious” belongings, stuffed them inside my family’s slightly beat up and wearied minivan along with my two parents and I and moved two states over for college. I had always prided myself on being an adventurer, a strong, independent woman not afraid to travel all over the world and brave enough to go on many journeys (long and short) alone, so I expected a measly move from Maryland to New Jersey to be a piece of cake.
Boy, was I wrong. From the moment I stepped on campus, I was smacked in the face with some very real social anxiety and fear of letting people in. As a freshman, I spent much time in my room alone, afraid of letting the people just outside my door in to my life and my heart. By the time I graduated four years later, I had grown in ways my freshman self would have shuddered to think about. I was able to form many friendships that were deeper and richer and more beautiful than anything I had ever experienced all because I took many (often small) steps in boldness. God used my time in college to teach me boldness and bravery in areas where my comfort zone was very – well – comfortable. I learned that while being bold may look like many different things, it always means taking a step out of my comfort zone and towards God.
15 Then Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, gave this order to the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah: 16 “When you help the Hebrew women as they give birth, watch as they deliver.[c] If the baby is a boy, kill him; if it is a girl, let her live.” 17 But because the midwives feared God, they refused to obey the king’s orders. They allowed the boys to live, too.
18 So the king of Egypt called for the midwives. “Why have you done this?” he demanded. “Why have you allowed the boys to live?”
19 “The Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women,” the midwives replied. “They are more vigorous and have their babies so quickly that we cannot get there in time.”
20 So God was good to the midwives, and the Israelites continued to multiply, growing more and more powerful. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. – Exodus 1:15-20 (NLT)
Woah. These midwives actually defied the orders of the Pharaoh. They stood up for what is right with incredible boldness and were a part of God’s incredible plan for the Israelites. And the best part? God blessed them with families of their own because they were obedient to Him.
Lord, teach me to follow you boldy, even if it means doing the terrifying thing.
Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,[a] 2 where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.
3 Then the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become a loaf of bread.”
4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’[b]”
5 Then the devil took him up and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please. 7 I will give it all to you if you will worship me.”
8 Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say,
‘You must worship the Lord your God
and serve only him.’[c]”
9 Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! 10 For the Scriptures say,
‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you.
11 And they will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’[d]”
12 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’[e]”
13 When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came. – Luke 4:1-13 (NLT)
This is crazy! If I were tempted in the ways that Jesus was, I would not have been able to resist. In fact, I know I have faced these same temptations and given in to them. Yet, Jesus boldly refuses the taunts of the devil and decides to do the less glamorous, least satisfying, and most unexpected thing and turn down the (probably incredibly enticing) offers from the devil.
Lord, give me the boldness to turn down the daily (and often easy and inviting) temptations of the devil.
I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you—something that even pagans don’t do. I am told that a man in your church is living in sin with his stepmother.[a] 2 You are so proud of yourselves, but you should be mourning in sorrow and shame. And you should remove this man from your fellowship.
3 Even though I am not with you in person, I am with you in the Spirit.[b]And as though I were there, I have already passed judgment on this man 4 in the name of the Lord Jesus. You must call a meeting of the church.[c] I will be present with you in spirit, and so will the power of our Lord Jesus. 5 Then you must throw this man out and hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature will be destroyed[d] and he himself[e] will be saved on the day the Lord[f] returns.
6 Your boasting about this is terrible. Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old “yeast” by removing this wicked person from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.[g] 8 So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread[h] of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread[i] of sincerity and truth. – 1 Corinthians 5:1-8 (NLT)
You know when your friend is behaving in a way that you know they shouldn’t, but you don’t say anything for fear of facing their wrath or a rift in your friendship with them? Well, that is exactly what is happening here except, instead of not saying anything, Paul boldly calls out his brothers and sisters in Christ for their sins. He does not do so to put them down, but he does so with a bold love that could only come from being in fellowship with Christ.
Lord, teach me to boldly love my brothers and sisters enough to call them out when I see them stumble.
God has taught me time and time again that often if I take a step forward with even the teeniest bit of boldness, he will grow me in leaps and bounds in ways that I could never have imagined. God gives us so many examples of boldness and bravery in His Word and these examples inspire me and push me to grow. Boldness looks different for everyone; for me it might look like saying hello to someone that I would not usually be brave enough to talk to. For the Hebrew midwives in Egypt, it looked like refusing to obey the orders of the Pharaoh to kill all the male children that were born. Whatever this boldness may look like, God uses it as a part of his perfect plan and that is incredibly exciting.