What is boldness, what does it look like with God, and how can we grow in it? Here is a definition, scriptures on boldness, and practices to grow bolder today!
This month I sent my newsletter community a challenge: instead of a #hotgirlsummer (::cringe::), let’s go after a #BOLDgirlsummer.
As summer hits and the world re-opens, I’m feeling the call to return to our new normal without fear and insecurity. Are you with me? Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about boldness.
But first, what is boldness?
Boldness is the “willingness to take risks and act innovatively; confidence or courage,” according to Oxford dictionary.
Merriam-Webster adds “fearless before danger; assured, confident; adventurous, free; and standing out prominently.” It gives “audacity” as a synonym, and I like that word.
Such a word also comes with a few negative connotations: other synonyms include “disrespectful,” “arrogance,” “improperness” and “disagreeableness”.
It’s safe to say that without God, and with us at the center, our boldness has the potential to be self-serving, conceited, rude and downright dangerous.
But a boldness that comes from and is centered on God?
That’s true courage, that comes not from the lack of fear but from the fierce love and protection of God.
It’s absolute confidence, without shame, based in our identity in God through grace.
It’s moving forward toward his purpose and his glory, which never fail.
That’s the kind of boldness worth pursuing.
What does the Bible say about being bold?
Let’s dig into some scriptures on boldness.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
This sums up boldness in God – the Spirit takes away timid fear and supplies us with power, might, or ability. Empowerment without fear? That’s boldness. And it is grouped with love and self-control – a way to keep us in check when being bold could trend toward self-centeredness.
Acts 4:13 and 31 demonstrate the power of the Spirit in “unschooled, ordinary” people (in the NIV translation). In fact, the more you rely on the Spirit for boldness, the more God is glorified, whether you feel brave or not!
“When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.” – Psalm 138:4 NIV
Even the mighty King David needed a little help with boldness. And he knew to go to the Source. This is a simple scripture on boldness that speaks so much confidence that God will supply what we lack.
“If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” – 2 Corinthians 3:9-11 NIV
Paul reminds us here that we aren’t subject to the law anymore, but are free by grace, because he brought the “ministry that brings righteousness.” Since in Christ our righteousness is now no longer dependent on what we do or fail to do, we are free to be confident and – you guessed it – bold.
Read through to the end of the chapter – “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (verse 17 NIV). We continued to be transformed to look more like Christ – another reason we can boldly and confidently make faithful decisions and actions.
“The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” – Proverbs 28:1 NIV
When our boldness is self-supplied, it runs out quickly (or can lead to ruin). A confidence that comes from God is solid ground. Remember, though, that it is complete in the Spirit with love and self-control. Boldness that comes from God does not mean arrogance, superiority, or action without regard for others.
See 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 for what love looks like – our boldness should line up with this list!
How to grow in boldness
Now that we know what Godly boldness looks like, how can we grow in it? How can we get ourselves to a place where we are able to take confident risks in faith for God’s glory? Here are some practices to help grow in boldness.
1. Pray confident and specific prayers.
Jesus often asked people to be clear about what they wanted him to do for them. (Luke 18:41 and Matthew 20:32 are examples of this.) When you pray, are you confident, specific and consistent? Or are you general, timid, or pray one time, and then get discouraged if it doesn’t happen?
I’ve been both, friend. Try those specific prayers. Pray them confidently (God tells us we can approach him this way in Hebrews 4:16.)
2. Carry God’s promises with you.
1 Kings 8:56 and Joshua 21:45 confirm that God’s promises do not fail. When you feel your confidence falter, or when the results you’re hoping for don’t happen right away, refer back again and again to the steadfast promises of God. Memorize them, and keep them on your heart.
3. Take secret steps of faith.
It would seem like boldness is always on display for others. But a boldness that comes from God doesn’t always operate that way. It centers on his glory, not on our own. It relies on him, not on self, and often is more based on what we can’t see than what we can. Sometimes boldness with God best develops privately, in our own relationships with him.
What goals can you set or practices can you carry out that only God knows about? Maybe for you it will be a fast, a secret and personal prayer request, or a service for someone. Cast out bold lines of faith, and see what God does through them. Maybe one day you’ll tell the story for God’s glory.
4. Catalogue and celebrate blessings.
How do we have confidence to move forward with God? We can look back and see all the ways he has already come through for us. I’m convinced this is why God called the Israelites to hold to certain celebrations, feasts and festivals – they prompted intentional remembrance and gratitude. This can help us stay the course when we feel fearful.
How about you?
Which of these scriptures on boldness is most helpful? What practices will you take toward growing in godly boldness?
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.