Choose to Be Bold
By Robert Williams, Lead Pastor at The Bridge Church
This last year has been full of ups and downs, left turns and right turns, dips and valleys. Some things have been great, a lot of things seemed to be hard.
And even though it may have seemed a bit naïve, I think we all expected 2021 to be a million times better than last year. Then a bunch of fools stormed the capital a couple of weeks ago.
I think what’s made it so hard for me as a leader is all of the uncertainty. I heard one pastor say this was his hardest year of ministry in over 25 years.
I’m a young pastor (or at least I like to think I am – 32 years old). My full-time ministry career didn’t really get started until I was about 27, but since the very beginning I’ve always had one major fear: arrogance. And during this time of uncertainty, I feel like there’s been so much arrogance from so many people.
That may seem like a silly fear to you, but I’m being genuine when I share that with you. Arrogance is one of my greatest fears as a pastor. I don’t want to get up on that platform and preach the word of Rob. I want to preach the Word of God.
I don’t want to spend my Sunday mornings soapboxing about my opinions. I want to spend them sharing my Holy Spirit convictions. I don’t want The Bridge Church to become the church of Rob. I want it to be the church of God. I’d like to think that’s the right motive to have as a pastor. And yet, I felt God convicting me of that fear these last few weeks.
That’s the thing about fear. Many times, it can drive us into the wrong places. Fear leaves us obsessing over things. Fear ties us down and holds us in corners when we were created for so much more than that.
Don’t get me wrong. There is such a thing as healthy fear. Healthy fear keeps us alive. A great example of healthy fear would be when we see a bear and decide to run away.
But did you know that the words “do not be afraid” are found within Scripture 70 different times? God calls us to not fear anything but the Lord, himself. And that kind of fear is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).
Okay. Let’s get back to my conviction.
A couple of Sundays ago I had an older couple in our congregation come up to me after I spoke. They do this pretty regularly to help mentor me and teach me wisdom that can only come with experience, age and devotion to God. I’m thankful for them.
They led me to a passage in Ephesians 6 where the apostle Paul talks about putting on the armor of God. Many Christians know this passage well. But near the end of that passage Paul asks for prayer in verse 19. Check out what he writes:
“And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.”
Paul, who has been beaten, bloodied, imprisoned, starved, shipwrecked, probably betrayed at times and persecuted frequently, prays for boldness. What? He prays for boldness!
As I read those words last week, it was almost as though God spoke directly into my soul and I heard him say, “Rob, in your fear of arrogance, you’ve sacrificed boldness.” I would go so far to say that I’ve even sacrificed clarity as well.
In the times we are living in today in America, many Christians have felt stuck in the middle. We know what Scripture says as it pertains to this issue or that issue. We know that neither political side has it completely correct.
We know both sides have issues where they are fighting for biblical issues of life and human dignity. And yet, culture is trying to drive us to pick sides and we don’t really know what to do.
I would encourage you in this — stop trying to pick sides and start looking for ways to be bold. Not proud. Not arrogant. But bold. Bold like Jesus.
Jesus was bold in compassion. Jesus was bold in love. Jesus was bold in clarity. Jesus was boldly against the religious and his heart was boldly broken for the pagans. All the while, Jesus never picked sides. Instead, he got pressure from both sides.
As a Christian, I think that’s exactly where we should land. That’s what God has laid on my heart for 2021. Be bold. Not bold in politics. Not bold on social media. Not bold with my opinions, but bold in the things of God. Bold in ways that are not of the world. Bold in loving even our enemies.
When we do that, we might land in the middle on a lot of things, but I can promise we’ll probably land in just the right spot.