How To Be A Bold Christian
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
I got saved as a kid because I liked the idea of Jesus–and not burning in hell for eternity–so I believed He forgave me. Big deal. So what. Other than punching my ticket to heaven, getting saved had no real impact on my life, because I didn’t do anything with it. I was a wishy-washy Christian at best. I didn’t want to be that guy, the one who took this Jesus thing too far.
So when I finally decided to stop taking advantage of God’s kindness, I was very surprised at how the “life long” Christians began to attack me. They came out of the wood-work. Self-professing Christians began to buck-up, as if I was in competition with them. I was shocked. Hindsight is 20/20, and I shouldn’t have been so taken back because now I understand that a lot of these Christians don’t know Jesus at all–all they really know is Scripture memorization, church work, religion, and self-righteousness. It’s disgusting, and it’s not the gospel at all.
So with the fruit of the Spirit being, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control” (see Galatians 5:22,23), I must be growing this fruit in my life at all times–gracefully–no matter if I’m being attacked by Christians or non-Christians. I must let Jesus take the wheel when I want to let Old Matt rear his ugly head at these types. “Simmer down, Matthew. It’s no big deal. Let them talk.” I hear this in my heart from His Spirit, and I rest in His grace to help me pull this off. Thankfully, more often than not, I actually do just let it go.
So if you’re new to this, just know that the Christians who don’t like the fact that you’re talking about Jesus so much, they will attack, but so what. Overlook it and move on. If they want to have a legitimate conversation, proceed. But if not, don’t feel guilty about shutting them out. They are there to steal your joy, so don’t let them. Over time, God will use them to strengthen your patience. Eventually, they will become non-factors, simply angry barking dogs on short chains.
But before I began to show Jesus that I actually loved Him, through my actions and attitudes, I was a person on the way to heaven, who still lived in hell–a self-made hell. One reason why was because I was afraid of losing my spot in heaven–which you can’t. Just like you can’t be un-born from your mom, you can’t be un-born after your spiritual birth either. The DNA mix is final (see John 3:16-18, Hebrews 10:10, Galatians 2:20, Colossians 1:22, Ephesians 1:5, John 1:12).
If that weren’t the case, then the Cross wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and we are right back to attempting to earn our positions with God–back to the broken “rewards system” of the Old Testament (see Hebrews 8:13).
What’s funny is, if you’re not Jewish, none of that Old Testament “being good for God” stuff–“following” those commandments and laws? They don’t even apply to you. You’re a gentile. You’re not even a part of God’s original chosen people to carry out those laws and commandments. Instead, you are just reading a history book and then applying recorded events to your own moral inventory. It doesn’t work that way.
Only what Jesus did at the Cross allows you to be a part of God’s family, nothing else does (see Galatians 3:28). So no matter how many rules you think you follow (there are 613 in all, not just 10)–all you are really doing is running out onto the court in the middle of someone else’s basketball game. If you’re not Jewish, you can’t play. You are a spectator. Only Coach Christ can draft you onto His team, by grace through faith (see Ephesians 2:8,9).
This brings us to the fact that our salvation through Christ was PAID IN FULL–completely done–FINISHED, “once for all” (see John 19:30, Hebrews 10:10). God doesn’t require you to keep asking for forgiveness, CHRIST COMPLETED THAT TASK TOO, and then He gave it to you for free the very first time you asked. Continual asking doesn’t give us forgiveness anyway, only perfect blood does (see Hebrews 9:22). Continual asking is neurotic and non-gospel. We can relax.
Even the Jews before Christ’s sacrifice, they got an entire year of forgiveness at the Day of Atonement–they didn’t bark out, “Will you forgive me?!” every time they broke a law or command because they knew only blood would cover up those sins (Jesus actually took away our sins, rather than cover them up, see John 1:29, 1 John 3:5). The Jews knew that “asking” doesn’t forgive their sins, nor does confessing. God already knew their sins! That’s why they sacrificed their best animals once a year at the temple.
As you begin to understand this truth of Christ’s final sin-sacrifice, and God’s unconditional love for you through that event, you will organically become bold! Here is a short list of things which helped me understand God’s grace better:
- REFUSE TO LIVE IN FEAR. First and foremost, stop being afraid of God. As a believer in Jesus’ forgiveness, you are saved! You are His child! Yes, He understands you will mess up, that’s why He sent Jesus here to do what you can’t. Never be afraid of God! Instead, listen to His Holy Spirit and respect Him at all times.
- LET GOD USE YOUR PAST. For me, it’s addiction (one of many things). I let God use this former weakness of mine to help others. I could look back on my past and cringe. I could deny it, or worse, try to hide it. I could even try to even minimize it but God doesn’t want that from me. He wants me to talk about it all the time with honesty and then point to Him as to the reason why I am who I am today. I finally understood this when I read 2 Corinthians 12:9: “Then He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.‘ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
- DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS. Being bold in who God made you to be will be impossible if you constantly try to be exactly like other people. This is a trick of the enemy because you can’t do this. Be inspired, learn from people, but BE YOU! God likes YOU and wants YOU to be YOU! YOU, YOU, YOU…Be you! Being you is imperative to being bold, because you are the best version of you! YOU ARE AWESOME!
- DO SOMETHING! Don’t just pray, don’t just go to church, don’t just read your Bible–but be willing to take action every single day! But beware: This part of being a bold Christian attracts Satan’s attention greatly. He’s not so much worried about you being saved if you are keeping it all to yourself, so be ready. Whatever or whoever you place your trust, confidence, and identity in, the devil will hold it over the flames, but you’ll be fine. JUST KEEP GOING! DO SOMETHING! DO ANYTHING! EVERY SINGLE DAY! Make yourself available to God, take action, and be bold! Make your mark for Christ!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father you are such a good God! Nothing I have can compare to what you do for me on a daily basis through your love! Thank you! Continue to teach me more and more about your grace, and make me even MORE BOLD in your love! Right now, I lift up every person reading this who wants to be bold for you! STRENGTHEN THEM ON THE INSIDE, and help them to live this out on the outside! Help us to live you out! In Christ’s name I pray, amen!
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