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Posts Tagged ‘boldness’

Part of the fruit of “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” is the inherent belief that we know what is best for us, and ultimately what will make us happy.  Reflexively, we view situations through the lens of our own experience, and then lean heavily on our own understanding.  We may try to evoke some scriptural justification for our assessments, but it is the Spirit of God that offers us the balance. 

For instance, we can watch the evening news, and in our frustration, we can decide that what we really need is boldness, and then start praying for a “spirit of boldness” to be released; when the Spirit of Lord is actually trying to get us to take our eyes off the circumstance (i.e. temporal), and get us to engage in the actual spiritual battle (2Cor. 4:18).  Without the temperance of the Spirit, our fervor tends to drive us toward destruction.

No doubt, it was zeal for God that compelled James & John to want to call fire down from heaven (Luke 9:54), and Peter to swing the sword in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:51), and Saul to persecute Jesus’ followers (Acts 8:3).  But all were eventually admonished for doing what seemed right in their own eyes.   Indeed, boldness without discernment is a dangerous thing.

In much the same way, knowledge can be a two edged sword.  It is only when knowledge encounters humility that it has the potential to become wisdom.  Without the moderation of the Spirit, knowledge can simply puff a man up (1Cor 8:1), and God resists the proud (James 4:6).

Our carnal mind likes to classify things as either “good” or “bad”, but context is essential.  Paul tells us to eagerly seek spiritual gifts (1Cor.12:31), but then warns that without love, those gifts become worthless (1Cor. 13:1-3).  Scripture cautions that we are justified by faith and not by works (Gal. 2:16), but then declares that faith without works is dead (James 2:17).  We learn that there is power in the name of Jesus (Mark 16:17), but find that doing things in Jesus’ name is of no eternal value, unless we actually know Him (Matt. 7:23). 

To our finite way of thinking, things like justice and grace are diametrically opposed, and yet they are both perfectly reflected in the person of God.  The balance of these (and many other) issues can only be found in Him.  Ultimately, this is what allows us to be in the world, but not of the world (John 17:15-18).  Only He has the words of life (John 6:68), and apart from Him, we can do “nothing” (John 15:5).

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It was James & John’s zeal for the Lord that caused them to suggest calling down fire from heaven (Luke 9:54).

It was Peter’s passion for Jesus that caused him to swing the sword in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:51).

It was Saul’s fervor for the things of God that caused him to persecute the followers of Jesus (Acts 8:3).

But in each instance, these faithful men found themselves out of step with God’s will.

Indeed, there is a way that seems right to a man, but it ultimately leads to death (Prov. 14:12).

In these perilous times, boldness is not the critical issue.

We need to be praying for discernment.

We desperately need to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church (Rev. 2).

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In times of turmoil there is often a renewed cry for “boldness” within the church, but what that means isn’t always clear.  I would submit that instead of boldly proclaiming the gospel, we need to be boldly living it; and instead of boldly standing for Christ, we ought to be boldly standing in Him.  After all, it is Christ “in us” that is the hope of glory.

 

We have no hope of convincing the world of the truth of our principles if we ourselves don’t believe in them enough to live by them.

 

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