Isn’t being bold the same as being obnoxious?

People don’t believe me when I tell them I’m shy. I’m introverted, yes, but that doesn’t automatically mean I’m shy. And in most circumstances when I’m around people, I’m only in places where I’m very comfortable. When I’m comfortable, I can come off like a total extrovert.

But that’s not who I really am. I’m the quiet one in the corner who likes to get my bearings before I jump into anything. I like to gauge a crowd, a room, a speaker before I answer a question or put up my hand for a comment. But even then, even after I’ve taken the time to get to a place where I’m not terrified, I still feel an urge to stay quiet. There’s always a voice in the back of my mind that tells me nobody needs to hear what I have to say and that if I walk up to someone to talk to them, I’ll just be interrupting. Or I’ll bother them.

But is that the way we’re supposed to live? Believing things like that about ourselves? Isn’t that humility? Or is it lies the enemy whispers to keep us silent when we really ought to speak up?

mountains-nature-sky-sunnyToday’s verse is 2 Corinthians 3:12.

Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold.

What does it mean to be bold? Is boldness synonymous with being obnoxious? That’s how I usually identify boldness. Being bold means you’re prideful or you’re full of yourself or you’re irritating.

But, correct me if I’m wrong, I’m pretty sure God isn’t okay with any of those character traits. So if God isn’t okay with any of that, how can we be bold if that’s what it means?

Easy answer, that’s not what it means. Being bold is being confident, and, sure, you can be confident in a wrong way. You can let your confidence become pride, or because you’re overly confident you can rub people the wrong way. But true boldness has very little to do with focusing on yourself.

What this verse is talking about is the boldness we have as Christ-followers. It’s probably referring specifically to how we can approach Christ with our troubles, that we can just go to Him whenever we need Him. That’s audacity. To approach the King of Heaven and ask a favor? Crazy talk. But I like to think that this verse is talking about more than just our prayer life.

Because of what Jesus did for us, we can be bold in everything we do. We don’t have to be timid and fearful. We don’t have to crumble whenever someone challenges us. We don’t have to hunker down and squeeze our eyes shut because someone disagrees with us. And, no, we don’t even have to stay quiet because we are shy.

We can live boldly because our confidence is in Jesus. Christ gave His life for us so that we could live abundantly. So what are we afraid of? Why are we hiding in the shadows? Sure, I dislike the spotlight, and I don’t like talking to people I don’t know. But when God has put me in a situation where I need to talk to people, the last thing I should be doing is sitting alone at a table scribbling notes.

I’m shy. I’m an introvert. I’m absolutely terrified to start up a conversation with someone I don’t know. Those are the lies Satan wants me to believe about myself, and it’s high time that I stopped listening to him.

What are you hiding from? What are you afraid to do, even though God’s told you to do it? Stop running. Stop believing the lies, and face those fears the enemy has planted in your heart. God has a plan for you, and it’s awesome. It’s time to get bold.

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Barney as a kitten, Haven, KS

What does boldness before God look like?

Are you bold? Would you call yourself a bold person? I’m not really. People think I am, but that’s mainly because when people really see me, it’s in a place where I’m comfortable. And when I’m comfortable, I can be just as bold as the most extroverted extrovert in the world.

Sometimes I wish I were more bold because then I could ask all those extroverted type questions I’m never brave enough to ask. If you’re an extrovert, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. If you’re an introvert, we’re on the same page exactly.

Being bold is good. It’s great and healthy, as long as it’s tempered with a fair amount of humility, kind of like everything else in life. But for me, the danger in my lack of boldness doesn’t affect my relationships here. For me, the danger comes when I lack boldness when I talk to God.

Barney as a kitten, Haven, KS

Barney as a kitten, Haven, KS

Today’s verses are Hebrews 10:19-22.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we have access to God Himself. We have a relationship with God the Father through Christ. We can be bold.

What does boldness before God look like?

Well, we shouldn’t doubt what God has promised. If God has promised us something, we should approach Him with confidence, knowing and fully believing that He will do it. No, it may not look like what we expect, but if He’s promised it, God will deliver in His time.

We should trust that God knows what He’s doing.

We should expect God’s answers. When we ask Him for an answer, we shouldn’t forget that we asked for it. We shouldn’t be surprised when He responds. If we ask Him, He heard us. Granted, He usually doesn’t answer when we think He should, but He always answers.

Do you have a friend you can be bold with? Someone you can be direct and assertive with? Someone you trust, someone you expect great things from? If you know anyone like that, you know what I’m talking about. Those people deliver. Those people can be trusted.

How much more can you trust and expect from God?

The point is this: I’m timid sometimes. I’m afraid to ask for something because I’m scared God will say no. I’m afraid to expect things because I’m afraid that I won’t get my way.

If I’ve learned nothing else in my life it’s that God never answers my prayers exactly as I expect. But every time He says no to one thing I’ve asked for, He gives me more than I expect later on. Most of the time, God doesn’t tell me no. He just tells me to wait. And if I honor that and wait, He blesses me beyond my wildest dreams.

I know that. I know that God can be trusted. I know that He knows what He’s doing. I know I can expect great things from Him.

So what am I afraid of? I don’t know what it is, but I’m learning how to overcome it a day at a time. It won’t happen overnight. Fear is a difficult thing to conquer. But God has told me I can be bold. God has promised me I can approach Him directly and ask for what I need. So I’m going to.

How about you? What are you afraid of? What are you waiting for? God has told us how to live. He’s told us what He expects. He’s showed us who He is.

So what’s stopping you? Be bold.

Meerkat at the Sedgwick County Zoo - Wichita, KS

Boldness

What does it mean to be bold? Earlier this year, I posted about today’s same verse in a devo about one of my trips to Guatemala and how the Mayans treated throne rooms. And in that post, as well as in today’s verse, we learn that we are able (and expected) to appraoch God with boldness. But what exactly is boldness?

Meerkat at the Sedgwick County Zoo - Wichita, KS

Meerkat at the Sedgwick County Zoo – Wichita, KS

Todays verse is Hebrews 4:16.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

One thing I have learned through studying Scripture is that you can easily take a verse out of context if you aren’t careful. And before you know it, you can be reinterpreting doctrine.

The best keyword you can look for at the beginning of a verse to indicate that something important to its understand came before it … because or since or so.

Yup. So. It usually indicates because or since.

So what comes before verse 16? Well, verses 14 and 15 of course! Here’s the whole thing:

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Yes. This starts with another so … but that’s a so then, which is a little different.

Basically the entire passage’s context is saying that because Jesus understands our weaknesses, because He faced all the same temptations we did, because He is our High Priest — our intercessor between ourselves and God the Father, we can come to God with boldness.

But what is boldness?

Bold is one of those words that you usually only hear about in Italian restaurants and on Crayola marker boxes. It usually only deals with taste or sight. So how can you be a bold person? And aren’t bold people usually kind of obnoxious?

Just being honest.

According to the Amplified Version, the word bold is accompanied by other words like confidently and fearlessly. And the Message puts it very bluntly: “So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give.”

Well … what does it mean to have confidence in someone? It means that you trust them, right? It means that if they have made you a promise and you believe them that you don’t have to be afraid that they will keep their word.

What about fearlessness? It means that if you trust someone and know someone so deeply that you don’t have to be afraid that they’ll let you down or abandon you.

It means that you don’t have to beg and plead for them to give you something. They’re just standing the

Those three things can be construed as boldness, or at least that’s what I’m understanding. But boldness itself isn’t an attitude; it’s the result of series of convictions.

I believe that God will keep His word. I believe that I don’t have to be afraid because He’s got everything under control. And I believe He has good things waiting for me and all I have to do is pick them up and run with them. And because I believe all those things, I can be bold.

And the reverse is true. If I don’t believe those things, I can’t be bold. I’ll be timorous, like a little mouse. … Or like the little meerkat I snapped a photo of at the zoo some time ago. But even Meerkats can be bold. I’ve got another picture of one that came right up to my feet and wanted to be friends.

So since we are invited to approach God with boldness, I think that’s something I want to look into. That’s something I want more of in my life. Real boldness. But that kind of boldness isn’t going to come by itself; I’ve got to believe a few things first.

Trying to be bold without believing first just makes you come off as arrogant. And that doesn’t impress anyone, least of all God. So get the order right. Learn how to trust God and be confident in His Word. Learn how to listen to what He’s telling you. And don’t hesitate when God tries to give you something. Jump in with both feet first and run.

And you’ll be bold without even trying.