While preparing sermons recently from 1 Thessalonians 2, I was struck by a statement Paul used in verse 2. He says, “…we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.” I immediately recognize this as a verse that has great significance for evangelism, but I also know how foreign it may seem. As I thought about this verse and its implications on my life, I noticed some things that I hope are helpful for you as well.
- Boldness is confidence, not bravado. The boldness Paul described is a courageous confidence in God, not an amazing ability that he possessed. Paul is not promoting outlandish, obnoxious methodologies or compelling every believer to develop an outgoing, exciting personality. He is reminding us that we can always have an unshakeable confidence in God.
- Boldness comes from God, not me. Boldness isn’t something I have to conjure up on my own. It is something that I receive from God when I am relying on Him. As with anything that God offers, if I don’t think I have it I can always ask. Asking for boldness requires that I realize I need it. Perhaps Paul was able to be bold in part because he wanted to be and knew it was necessary.
- Boldness results in Gospel proclamation, not self-promotion. God’s boldness is for a specific purpose. When he gives boldness, I should use it to promote him. If I am seeking attention or promoting myself and my own agenda, I am filled with pride, not God-given boldness. This also makes me wonder if perhaps God gives boldness when I am already engaged in Gospel proclamation. We shouldn’t wait for boldness, we should count on it!
- Boldness withstands any opposition. This kind of boldness cannot be matched by anything that the world can throw at us. Paul’s testimony was that his boldness came even during great opposition. In another letter, Paul asks, “If God be for us, who can be against us (Rom 8:31)?” We can be bold in any conditions because God is the source and object of our boldness.
When I consider those statements, I realize that true boldness from God is confidence in God to do the work of God in the power of God under any circumstances. Isn’t that exciting? I hope you will join me in living boldly for Jesus.