08 March 2005

Call Me Simba

The righteous are bold as a lion.
-- Proverbs 28:1
Living in grace isn't easy. Living boldly is even harder. What a difference it would make if I could just manage to apply these straight forward verses to my everyday life. Sure I'm not the only one who would benefit if we were suddenly to develop lion-like qualities.

To really begin to ingest this though it's helpful to break it down a little. Firstly, who are the righteous it is talking about? Does this only refer to people who are innocent or good? I certainly hope not. Although it would sure explain my inability to go into the world boldy. A quick study on righteousness (Romans) shows that this is really the same as Salvation. If you have received salvation from God, He has made you right.

What attributes of a lion are referred to here with boldness? The growl? The roar? That seems to be how some people see this. Especially in the brand-aware, flash-bang world we live in, where only the squeaky wheels get the grease. Anyone who has attended a service with me is quick to figure out that for me, when it comes to worship, loud is good. Anyone who has watched a TV evangelist understands the same thing. I just don't see that the growl or the roar are integral parts of boldness.

In my view, the lion-like behavior most associated with boldness is confidence. They go wherever the food is when they are hungry. When they need rest they aren't afraid to fall asleep even in plain view. I don't know about you, but I can only wish my spiritual life were like that. Even when I'm hungry for someone to come to Christ I stall and tip-toe and slink around. When I'm in plain view I can't let my guard down for a minute. The pretenses and fears I fill myself with keep me awake and vigilant when I should be at my most relaxed.

Why is being bold such a challenge? I think a lot of it has to do with what we draw our confidence from. For many of us it is our education, our money, our family, our vocation, our looks, our talents, etc. We have any number of things we can place our trust in, it seems the last on our list is our Savior. Now Paul and company, these guys knew how to lay it down: "We had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the face of great opposition." (1 Thessalonians 2:2) "In our God" pretty much sums it up, don't you think?

For myself, the main things come back to fear. "The fear of man lays a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD is safe." (Proverbs 29:25) I get afraid of how I will be perceived, of failure, even of disappointment. I'm afraid I will be judged and shunned. And it's not just other people. Even with God I act fearfully. I think small when I should think big. If He is my Father I should be able to ask for anything right? I should able to share anything and make myself at home. Instead I huddle to myself and shy away from giving Him access and free reign.

You would think this would be easier considering that we already have this boldness in us. Did you catch that? We have the boldness in us already. We just have to use it. It was gift along with our Salvation. "In whom we have boldness and confidence of access through our faith in Him." (Ephesians 3:12) Now I need to act like it. Grrr.

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