“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are as bold as a lion” Proverbs 28:1
“What is wrong with you; do you want to end up in hell like that Mohammad?” These were the words of my friend, Solomon, to a Muslim man he was witnessing to. Though Solomon’s approach in this particular encounter should not be our “default setting” when we are sharing the Gospel with others, no one can say for certain whether or not that was exactly what that Muslim man needed to hear in that moment. Though we strive to “give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God” (1 Corinthians 10:32), we must nevertheless do and say as the Lord commands. Sometimes strong words and the “direct approach” are what is needed for that moment. Whatever the case, we cannot deny that boldness comes with strong faith in the Lord. The Scriptures are replete with examples. The account of Jacob wrestling with a powerful, heavenly being, demanding a blessing from him, almost defies imagination (Genesis 32:22-32). That is boldness! Moses exercised similar faith and boldness when he resisted the Pharaoh, arguably the most powerful man in the world, to his very face (Exodus 5-14). Elijah’s dual with the prophets of Baal is now legendary (1 Kings 18) as is the boldness with which Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego resisted King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3). In the New Testament, we see a Leper, condemned to a life of isolation, march boldly through a crowd to receive ministry from Jesus (Matthew 8:1-4). On a similar occasion, a sinful woman, obviously despised by many, made her way to the house of a Pharisee where Jesus was. There she openly worshiped Him before the Pharisee’s astonished (and probably somewhat horrified) guests (Luke 7:36-50). In Jericho, the blind Bartimaeus, cried out for the Lord’s help. When he was instructed to be quiet, he called out even louder and the Lord was pleased to heal him also (Mark 10:46-52). Who can forget the boldness of those four friends who carried their crippled companion up to the roof of the house in which Jesus was teaching? Their boldness in tearing up the roof in order to lower their needy friend down in front of the Lord is almost comical! (Mark 2:1-12). Throughout the Bible we read accounts of people exercising extraordinary courage and boldness in either pursuing God for help or serving Him by sharing His love and truth with others. The great apostle Paul is a stellar object lesson in this regard. He reminded the Thessalonians that they were dear to him, and for that reason he had always been gentle among them, even as a nurse cherishes her children (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8). Even so, when Paul left Thessalonica and went to Athens, he found a group of men there who needed to be indicted for their false religion, which he did directly and without compromise (Acts 17:16-34). May the Lord help us follow these examples (Philippians 3:17) by bringing our faith to visible, bold expression, for His glory and the good of others.