BOLD in the New Year
It’s that time of Year, for New Year’s Resolutions. Let me suggest four spiritual resolutions that can revolutionize our lives. Be BOLD. I feel intense admiration when I read about the courage of the early Christians. I long to understand how one boldly proclaims faith in a hostile world. Why are some Christians bold while others are timid? While one must avoid the temptation for a quick fix, four characteristics are essential if we are to be bold Christians. The acrostic is a helpful memory tool.
- Believe. Boldness is a function of a deep, abiding belief in God. We will never be bold until we settle the question of faith. Upon what or whom do we depend? What matters more to us than anything else? What is the foundation of our world view? What is our beginning point? What are our orienting concepts? This is our belief system, and any person (Christian or non- Christian) who is bold has settled the belief question. This is what is worth standing up for. This is what really matters.Our lack of boldness may be due to a lack of biblical faith. Faith is more than intellectual assent to a few truths. Faith is the foundation of life.
- Obey. There may be a better word to describe this second factor, but obedience is the result. Boldness depends upon the depth of your relationship with God. What is your attitude toward God? Do you hear him, listen to him, and talk with him? Ours is a communicating God. Ours is a personal God.Genuine obedience does not come from duty and distant, dry words that must be obeyed. The kind of pliable, moldable Christian I am describing acts out of relationship and desire to be like God.
Faith is more than intellectual assent to a few truths. Faith is the foundation of life.
- Love. Certainly, it is true that we will love God; that truth is included in obedience. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Now we are thinking about our horizontal relationships. People are bold for one another. We commit to taking the same kind of love that has blessed our lives and spreading it into this world. We love others because we have been loved.
- Be a Disciple. This is an internal question. This is who I am. This is my relationship with myself. I have decided. I am willing to dedicate myself. I am determined. I will follow. I am a learner following a teacher. I have decided to follow Jesus. I am set for the defense of the gospel. There are a whole host of “D” words that may come to mind, but the one I choose to use as a summary is disciple.
May God help us grow in our belief, obedience, love, and discipleship. May we be bold as we live transformed lives in the kingdom!