For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been sharing about the importance of following God where He leads. Too often, we hesitate and do not respond to God quickly enough, because we’re waiting for “perfect” conditions. However, God will bless us if we’ll step out in faith to be obedient despite circumstances. This week, I’d like to share a verse with you that will provide further encouragement to step out and do the things God has placed in your heart to do. Proverbs 28:1 explains, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” There are three important points I’d like to share from this scripture.
First of all, be aware not to “flee when no one pursues.” Sometimes, my young children will leave their bedrooms at night because they’re scared of some creature they see in their room. However, in reality, the “creature” they are seeing is only a stuffed animal! My kids fled their rooms when no one pursued! It’s easy to laugh at them, but sometimes as adults we run away from things that don’t exist as well. God may place a desire in our heart, but we never act on it, because we get lost in a world of “what-ifs.” “What if I embarrass myself? What if I offend somebody? What if this is not from God?” While we could keep asking “What if?” all day, most of the fears we conjure up are completely unfounded. We’re fleeing when no one pursues! I’ve found that when I reach out to others by acting on a thought God has given me, people are almost always receptive and appreciative, not offended. So when you get bogged down in the world of what-ifs, recognize those fears as lies and obey God anyway!
Secondly, be bold! To be bold means to be courageous and daring, to step out even in the face of fear. Being bold is the opposite of fleeing when no one pursues. To be bold means you go after things even when challenges or risks exist. Think about all the examples in the Bible of people who boldly obeyed God in the face of fear. David challenged a giant who had threatened to destroy him. Daniel was faithful to pray even when he knew that would cause him to be thrown to a den of lions. Nehemiah led an effort to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem even while his enemies taunted and threatened him. Each of these men could have let fear stop him, but he made a choice to be bold and obey God instead. In each case, God blessed them for their boldness, and they experienced overwhelming victory. He will do the same for us when we boldly carry out His plan!
Thirdly, pursue like a lion. I did a little research on lions and learned an interesting fact about the way they hunt for food. What I learned is that lions stalk their chosen prey. They don’t just chase everything that comes along, but they go after specific targets. In the same way, we should be purposeful in what we pursue by having goals to our faith. When God places a certain desire in our heart, we should focus on that target and go after it purposefully and intently until we see the vision fulfilled. When it comes to obeying God, we cannot afford to have a nonchalant attitude. We shouldn’t tell ourselves that we’ll obey God “one of these days” or when we “get around to it.” That’s not how a lion operates, and that’s not how we should carry ourselves either! Be prayerful that God will place His dreams and desires in your heart, and then aggressively pursue them to see them fulfilled.
True boldness is not a personality trait or an act of will, but it is a gift of grace we receive from God. You may not be a bold person by nature, but that doesn’t matter. You can have confidence in the Spirit, not in the flesh. Take Peter for instance. Though he was a close disciple of Jesus, Peter denied to others that he even knew who Jesus was when He was arrested to be crucified. His actions at that time were far from bold! Later, however, we read that Peter and John received prayer from fellow Christians that God would “grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word” (Acts 4:29). Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and transformed into a man who boldly proclaimed the Gospel. You can experience the same type of transformation in your life! Ask God for boldness, and then step out in faith to do the things He has called you to do. Don’t be stopped by the lies of what-ifs. Be bold like a lion and see what God will do!