With All Boldness
All three of our children have had the amazing, yet challenging privilege of canvassing with the Michigan Conference Youth Rush magabook initiative. One of those summers several years ago, our second son, Enoch, was canvassing a neighborhood in an area the conference had already cleared with the township to enter.
As he was going from one house to another a police car raced up beside him. The officer jumped out and aggressively questioned Enoch, “What do you think you are doing in this neighborhood?” Enoch tried to explain the situation: that he had dedicated the summer to sharing Christian message and health books with the community.
Obviously angered by his answer, the officer began to berate him and asked what kind of parents would allow their child to waste a summer with such nonsense. Then pushing him up against the police car, the officer threatened that he had the power to arrest him if he continued. Thankfully the conference magabook leaders know how to handle these types of situations. And although Enoch was shaken up by the encounter, he had a renewed determination to keep pressing forward in his work for God.
It is in these times that our hearts are lifted in prayer for the Holy Spirit to cast away the fear of man and give a holy zeal that we may keep sharing the message of truth with all boldness.
This was the disciples’ prayer in Acts 4. They had already been arrested and severely threatened. In the face of trial they boldly proclaimed, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” And, being released with further threats, they gathered among the believers. They earnestly prayed that, in spite of the threats, they would continue to speak the word of God with all boldness.
When It Gets Tough
It can be relatively easy to speak when we are preaching to the choir. We can quickly speak with passion and boldness when we know that we can get a hearty amen and a warm pat on the shoulder. But when the crowd is against us—when there will be consequences–it can be much harder to speak up.
The world can be bold in espousing its maxims and philosophies because as Jesus said….”the world loves its own.” The enemy of souls wants to pressure the followers of Jesus to be timid and keep silent. Satan doesn’t want us to speak of what we have seen and heard, whether the pressure is subtle or threatens life itself. Nevertheless, the Lord can give us a peculiar courage to stand up and speak with all boldness for what the Bible reveals as holy and true.
The Lord gave Daniel boldness as he purposed in his heart to not bow to prevailing social pressure to defile himself. It was not an easy stand to take. I am sure in the moment of temptation he was praying fervently for boldness to speak up and not keep silent.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego must have praying for all boldness as the music played across the plain of Dura. God helped them to stand tall and to speak plainly to a king who threatened their lives.
May our prayer be for the Lord to give us such courage and all boldness to stand for Him in whatever situation we may be confronted.
A Word of Caution
We know that, according to Bible prophecy, the religious freedoms we currently enjoy will be eventually stripped away. There will be the threat of loss of possessions, loss of reputation and the threat of death. Pressures will come from within and without—from family, friends, and colleagues.
Many will be brought before the authorities to give an answer. But at such an hour Jesus says not to… “worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”
What an amazing promise! Not only will our Lord give us the boldness to speak but He will also put the very words in our mouths.
Now a word of caution. The boldness to speak the truth and for God’s glory must come from above. We must seek and pray for a holy boldness. We can manufacture a self-confidence and develop a misdirected zeal. Like the Sons of Thunder, if not careful, we could be motivated by the wrong spirit, falsely believing it is for God’s glory.
We can even bring unnecessary times of trouble upon ourselves, mistakenly thinking we are being persecuted for righteousness’s sake. With our own boldness we can hinder and hurt the work of God and unnecessarily close up our way. Like Peter’s rash claim, a boldness of our own making can be a projection of personal pride. How quick Peter was to declare that even if all would fall away, he would never fall away. Again, our boldness must come from above with earnest prayer that only God may be glorified.
The disciples were praying for all boldness because they had been commanded to not speak in the name of Jesus. Even though they had demonstrated such boldness thus far they shrank back from trusting in their own strength. They knew that only the Lord could continue to sustain and strengthen them with the boldness of the Holy Spirit. The disciples had learned from their recent experience, that while the Spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. They would now obey the admonition of their Savior to watch and pray lest they fall into temptation. Temptation can come ever so swiftly to steal our confidence in the promise and providence of the Lord. Remember Peter. Remember Elijah just coming down from Mount Carmel. How quickly boldness and courage can fade away if we trust in our own strength.
But the disciples of Jesus had been doing the very work that the Lord Jesus asked them to do…they were following His command. It wasn’t their own boldness. “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” 
My dear brothers and sisters, I believe that we are again in a time when we need to watch and pray earnestly that the Lord would grant us all boldness that we may speak His word. We need the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we may have courage to speak about Jesus’ wonderous truth for these last days. We need His boldness in the paths of our daily lives that we may honor and glorify Him in all our ways.
When the pressure mounts, and the temptation comes to keep silent, may His Word be in us like it was in the prophet Jeremiah. While pressed on every side, Jeremiah was tempted to no longer make mention or speak in name the name of the Lord. Under such pressure the prophet declared, “But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.”
May the Word of the Lord our God be as a burning fire in our bones that we cannot help but speak what we have seen and heard! And may we have this joy that burns in our hearts, that as we confess our Lord Jesus before the world, He is also confessing us before our loving Father in Heaven.