A Bold Reliance
Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of his grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands. Acts 14:3
Fear, insecurity, and doubt are real. Sometimes they are so real that they are paralyzing. We can’t hear, think or see straight when these emotions come into play. They become bigger than anything in plain sight and have a way of overtaking us, no matter how far away from the truth they are. They are real. And I can’t count how many times they have kept me from doing something that the Lord has called me to do.
Paul and Barnabas were called to share the gospel in the city of Iconium. And as they did that, there were great multitudes coming to believe in Jesus. The problem is that this came with much opposition as well. Many Jews were upset and began to “stir up the souls” of the Gentiles by trying to bring discord and confusion against the faith. Paul and Barnabas, faced with this great opposition against their calling, had the choice to either move on from Iconium or stay and complete what God had told them to do. They stayed. They stayed and spoke boldly with full reliance on their Lord. And it was through their obedience that God began to show up and grant miraculous signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
The calling of God can be scary at times. It’s when He calls us that we begin to put our qualifications and experience under a magnifying glass. We convince ourselves that we aren’t ready. We start to feel inadequate and sure that we couldn’t possibly measure up to the task that He has called us to do. But here, we see that God called Paul and Silas to do something and they did it boldly with full reliance on Him. Even in great opposition, they did it. And as they relied on Him, He moved on their behalf. It wasn’t about if they were able. It was simply about their trust in a God who was. They didn’t have to perfect themselves, they only had to present themselves. In fact, I am learning that God is not nearly as concerned about our ability as He is our availability. He’s not looking to use the qualified, He’s looking to qualify those willing to be used. Friends, God is just waiting for us to show up and boldly rely on Him to do the rest.
But being bold is hard. I get that. It’s hard mainly because we tend to become so worried as to whether or not the thing we are called to do will actually succeed or not. It’s tough to be bold with a fear of failure staring you in the face. But what if we decided to become more concerned with obedience than with outcome? What if, even in our fear, we decided to just be bold anyway? Paul and Silas didn’t know if staying in Iconium and continuing to preach would actually accomplish anything. All they knew was that they were to be boldly obedient in what God had called them to do, and guess what? God showed up in their boldness.
You see, miracles happened simply because their bold hands were available. The life-changing Gospel was shared simply because their bold mouths were available. I am learning that God can do absolutely anything with bold hands and mouths that are willing and ready to fully rely on Him. Bold hands and mouths that don’t care what the crowds think. Bold hands and mouths that won’t quit in the face of opposition. Bold hands and mouths that are not worried about their qualifications or lack thereof. He just wants bold hands and mouths. Period.
Friends, we have to know that there are lives needing to be touched, and they are waiting on our boldness. There are souls needing to be saved, and they are waiting on our boldness. There are businesses and ministries God wants to launch and He is waiting on our boldness. Sure, God can do it without us. But the beauty of it is, that He doesn’t want to! He wants to use the weak, inadequate and unqualified us. Our lack of qualifications is actually a part of His plan. You see, He knows the character that comes through us learning to boldly rely on Him to do through us what we cannot do on our own. He knows the faith it will build in us to watch Him move in mighty ways despite our inabilities. And He knows the glory He will receive when He uses ordinary people to accomplish His extraordinary plans. This is all simply a fabulous set up for Him to receive all the honor. So friends, let’s move our insecurities out of His way. Let’s ask God to give us bold hands and mouths to do all that He has called us to do. You see, we have to remember that it’s Him who produces the results. He is just waiting on a pair of bold hands to produce them through.
Questions to Journal Through:
1. Is there something in your life God has called you to in which you feel inadequate? Sit down and be honest with God about your feelings and ask Him to come into those insecurities.
2. What are some specific bold steps you can take towards relying on God and stepping out on faith in that area? Write them down and then pray over the boldness and courage to do each one.