If you’re feeling uncomfortable with a conversation, decision or circumstance, what is your initial reaction? Do you jump into action or are you more likely to hang back and see how others respond? Is boldness ever part of your response?
When I think about boldness, it always seems like something for other people, a trait I admire and even envy sometimes in my fellow believers. Maybe you’re an introvert like me or just think of yourself as shy or timid, but boldness can be difficult for many of us, especially in uncomfortable situations where you feel nervous or unqualified to act.
The circumstances that cause me to feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed are certainly very different and less extreme than the ones believers in Acts faced for sharing their faith. But we can still look back on their example for a model of biblical boldness.
My church small group recently studied Acts 3–5 and noticed how the believers asked God for boldness. In these chapters, Peter and John testify before the religious council, and believers pray for continued confidence when they are commanded to no longer speak about the gospel.
In Acts 3, Peter and John healed a man who was unable to walk. Peter preached to the growing crowd outside the temple that this miracle didn’t come through their own actions or abilities, but only on the basis of faith in the name of Jesus. Because of their witness, Peter and John were arrested and the rulers and elders threatened that they must stop teaching about Jesus.
One detail that comforts me from this passage is the reality that Peter and John were ordinary people just like us. They had the privilege to walk as Jesus’ disciples while He was on earth, but even the elders observed that Peter and John had great confidence even though they were uneducated and untrained (Acts 4:13).
Yet when Peter and John returned to the other believers and shared what had happened, the whole congregation came together. They prayed with hopeful expectation for God to strengthen them and continue acting through signs and wonders.
As our small group reflected on the passage, we realized that out of all the worldly emotions or initial gut reactions the believers might have had, they intentionally chose to ask God how to respond. It is important to acknowledge God’s sovereignty. Even though He already knows the outcome of the situation we are praying about, we are called to bring our praises and requests to Him and ask for His guidance.
Reminders and encouragement
When I struggle with feeling uncomfortable about my current circumstances or lack boldness in approaching the season God has placed me in, I have found these truths to be encouraging:
- God cares about your struggles, no matter how small.
- We can pray expectantly and hopefully.
- Look back on the past to remember how God has carried you through every hard day and difficult time. Keeping a record or journal of prayer requests and praises can be a great reminder of God’s goodness.
- Seek out godly community to lift you up, hold you accountable and help you pray for wisdom.
It can be easy in times of discomfort to get stuck in the emotions of fear, doubt and anxiety. But one of my past Sunday School leaders once put it this way: God doesn’t call the equipped — He equips the called.
When we feel uncomfortable, we can bring every aspect of the situation or decision to God in prayer. We can find assurance in remembering that He has equipped us and will continue to grant us boldness to speak and live out His Word.
Let that be our prayer so when others ask, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” like the elders did (Acts 4:7), the first words we speak are the gospel of Jesus Christ.