Real Life Core Values #8

Bold Faith: We take bold steps of faith and dream big vision.

We don’t insult God with small or impossible thinking or an unwilling attitude. 

We take bold steps of faith trusting that God will provide what he has called us to accomplish.

Middle Schoolers!  What comes to mind?  When I was Youth Pastor, my pendulum would swing between, I loved them or they made me pull my hair out.  There was no in between. Perhaps, that’s why I am bald today!  They have a zest for life that has not yet been tainted.  Boisterously, they let you know what they think and feel, usually without much of a social filter. But, that’s what makes them great!  They love life, live it full throttle, and yes sometimes cause our hair to turn loose.  They are REAL and they are BOLD!

When I think about Bold Faith, I am always mindful of the story about the four men who carried their paralyzed friend to Jesus.  When these four men arrived at the house where Jesus was, they found the crowd overflowing out onto the lawn.  They could not get their paralyzed friend to Jesus, but this did not stop our heroes. One of them had a brilliant, stupendous idea. With the boldness of a mighty warrior, he shouted, “If we can’t go through the door, let’s go through the roof!”  With one accord, the others agreed, “We have to get our friend to Jesus!”  They were not afraid of what people thought. They were not intimidated by the circumstances.  They were friends that knew only Jesus could help their friend.  They had Bold Faith…they were Middle Schoolers!

Take a minute and read the account of these bold faith men as it is found in Mark’s account chapter 2 verses 1 through 12.

When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 2 Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 4 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” 6 But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7 “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” 8 Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? 9 Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” 12 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!” [1]

From this incredible story, let’s look at the difference between Bold Faith and Fearful Faith.

Bold Faith says:  Partner with others to bring my friends to Jesus.

Fearful Faith says: It is too overwhelming for me to bring my friends to Jesus.

This paralyzed man was more than one person could carry to Jesus.  It took four men. You don’t have to reach your friends by yourself.  There is strength in the bold faith of other believers.   At Real Life, we work together to help each other with the burden of carrying our friends to Jesus. Will you partner with Real Life to bring your friends to Jesus?  (see Mark 2:3)

Bold Faith says:  Now is THE time to get my friends to Jesus.

Fearful Faith says:  There will be a better time later to get my friends to Jesus.

The four men knew the urgency of their friend’s need and NOW was the time! It is easy to come up with excuses to put off bringing our friends to Jesus or taking the next step in our faith journey.  Another day or time usually seems better to us to take a bold step of faith in our personal story with Jesus. It is critical for us to recognize each day is a gift of opportunity to live in bold faith or to succumb to fearful faith.  There will never be a better day than today to take the next step. What bold faith step is God asking you to take today? Go ahead…do it! (see Mark 2:4)

Bold Faith says:  Have a “whatever it takes” mentality when it comes to overcoming the obstacles to Jesus.

Fearful Faith says:  Allow a “there are so many, big obstacles” mentality to block the path to Jesus.

The crowd, people’s opinion, the homeowner’s reaction, finding digging tools, not dropping their friend are a few of the obstacles that stood in the way of getting this friend to Jesus.  We must have a mentality that thinks how can I go around, over, under even through the obstacles to Jesus!  What is your obstacle of fear right now? Ask Jesus to give you His eyes to look past the obstacle and give you a “whatever it takes” bold faith commitment to Him.  (see Mark 2:4)

Bold Faith says:  I trust Jesus to forgive sin.

Fearful Faith says:  My friend would never trust Jesus to forgive sin.

Certainly, the paralyzed man was hopeful Jesus would heal him, but interesting we find this statement, “Jesus saw their faith”.  The four men had faith to get their friend to the feet of Jesus. They had boldness to do what no one else was willing to do.  They stepped out on the character of Jesus, His character of forgiveness. They knew only Jesus had what their friend needed. Mark Edwards, a missionary friend, put it best, “The key is not to have a large amount of faith in a small God, but a small amount of faith in a large God.”  At Real Life, one way we enlarge our view of God is through our Life Groups. Won’t you consider being a part of one, so that your faith might become bolder because it is rooted in a big God? (see Mark 2:5)

Bold Faith says:  Focus on Jesus, who He is, and His sufficiency in meeting my friend’s spiritual need.

Fearful Faith says:  Focus on myself. I might be misunderstood, criticized, or inadequate in trying to help my friend’s spiritual need.

There is always a risk of being misunderstand, criticized, or feeling inadequate when we take a bold stand for our faith. When Jesus gives us a dream or a vision of what He wants to do with our lives, it is always bigger than us.  This forces us to stand with bold faith on the person of Jesus Christ. Be bold for Jesus, He can take care of Himself and you! (see Mark 2:6-11)

Bold Faith says:  I know Jesus amazingly changes lives and He deserves praise.

Fearful Faith says: I’m not convinced Jesus can change lives, mine or anyone else.

We may feel that we have to do everything right to help create life change in our friends but our job is to do our best to point them to Jesus. It is Jesus’ job to save and create a genuine spiritual change, then He receives the credit.  Because of our lack of bold faith, we don’t see the changes Jesus makes in our lives and those around us.  As a member of Real Life’s Dream Team, we have the awesome privilege each week of demonstrating bold faith to those we serve. When you serve others, you will also see God change you.  Won’t you join the Dream Team and let Jesus do His work in and through you?! (see Mark 2:11-12)

Bold Faith says:  Be willing to let Jesus make your fearful faith bold!

Fearful Faith says:  Permit fear to keep your faith from being bold!

Your bold step of faith might be to bring your friends to Real Life by inviting them, to serve others by becoming a member of the Dream Team, to connect with God and others by joining a Life Group, or to face your physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual needs by trusting Jesus’ character.   Ask Jesus to make you willing to follow Him and you will be surprised at His bold faith He gives in place of our fearful faith!   (see Mark 2:1-12)

So, pick up your friend’s mat, grab a shovel, and become a Middle Schooler!

[1] Passage from: Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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