Several months ago, I faced a very crucial meeting with some prominent leaders. The meeting had tremendous implications, and I needed to be faithful to what Jesus had placed on my heart even though the other leaders’ viewpoints differed.
Just before the meeting, a friend shared Proverbs 28:1 with me: “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” God used my friend’s encouragement and the powerful truth of God’s Word that “the righteous are bold as a lion” to prepare and strengthen me for my upcoming encounter.
Something amazing happened at that meeting: I was truly bold – bold as a lion – and it felt good; it felt right. Please understand, being bold did not mean I got into a fist fight with anyone during the meeting. I did not yell at people or “put them in their place.”
However, I boldly stood for righteousness and what God had put on my heart to do and say. I did not back down. In love and honor, I courageously and uncompromisingly stood my ground and fulfilled what God had called me to do that day.
Not A Natural-Born Hero
Since that meeting, God has been speaking new life into me. Something old is passing away, and something new has entered. The Father is calling me to step into my identity as a bold, courageous warrior for Jesus.
However, I need to confess something to you. I am not a natural-born hero. Courage is not what emerges first in my heart when facing difficulties. I have struggled all my life with fear and its many forms:
- As a child: fear of the dark, fear of striking out at baseball, fear of upsetting my dad and him becoming angry with me.
- As a teenager: fear of diving head first into a swimming pool, fear of trying new things, fear of asking the girl I had a secret crush out on a date.
- As an adult: fear of man, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of taking risks, fear of not being a good husband, fear of disappointing my kids.
Let me re-introduce myself, “Hello my name is Craig Conaway, and I am a coward.”
We All Are Cowards
Whenever I would read the astonishing stories in the Scriptures, I would be in awe of how courageous men and women were used by God to accomplish extraordinary things.
Over and over, I desperately wanted to be just like them – heroic, bold, adventurous, charging the enemy. But then, as I read more, I realized that they were just like me – cowards.
In fact, the Bible is a book full of cowards:
- Adam and Eve hid.
- Abraham lied to save his life.
- Moses ran away.
- David deceived.
- Esther was uncertain.
- Elijah contemplated suicide.
- John the Baptist doubted.
- Peter denied.
- The disciples locked themselves in a room.
- John Mark deserted
- Peter conformed
A Journey Towards Boldness
The Bible is not a record of God searching for the most courageous men and women on the planet.
The great stories of the Bible are not about people who heroically stepped up and confidently handled the task.
Instead, the Bible is the story of God pursuing cowards, transforming their hearts, and calling them to live courageous lives – to be bold as a lion.
That reality ignites my heart with tremendous hope – that God can take a coward like me and transform me into a mighty man of God who is as bold as a lion.
Somewhere in the midst of our journey with God, we begin to hear the voice of the Spirit speaking into our lives and calling us out into God’s future. We discover that this journey cannot be achieved without courage. We must step into our identity. We must become bold as a lion.
As Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
My hope is that God will equip all of us to be courageous followers of Jesus who impact their world for the glory of God and for the sake of others. God wants to take us on a journey of transformation – to be bold and fearless for Him!