One of my favorite memories of my hubby’s last football season has nothing to with Friday nights under the lights or the excitement of winning 11 straight games. It was actually how he responded when he started receiving attention for the success of the team.
About four games into the season, T.V. stations started calling and showing up at practice to get the scoop on this new coach and figure out the secret to his immediate impact. It’s highly unusual for a 1st year coach to have the amazing start that Ben was fortunate enough to have, and people wanted to know what in the world he was doing so well.
My hubby doesn’t love being in the spotlight, so it was uncomfortable for him to receive attention, but he reluctantly agreed to be interviewed multiple times. Over and over again, he gave the credit to his distinguished staff and talented players. He never took any of the glory for himself.
One interview in particular really stood out to me. It stood out to the reporter as well, because he emailed Ben after it was over to tell him how big of an impact it had on him. He also told Ben that he was going to upload the entire interview onto his website in case parts of it were edited out for airing. He wanted people to be able to hear all of what Ben had said.
The camera started rolling, and the reporter asked Ben to explain the process of how he got the job at Blaine. My hubby smiled, took a big deep breath, and then boldly talked about his faith, getting on his knees in prayer, and being obedient to follow God’s calling.
My coach was not ashamed to share his faith, even on a public school stage, and I have never been more proud. (If you didn’t get to see the interview, you can watch it here.)
Ben didn’t have to be so outspoken about why he took the job. He could have given 100 other reasons about taking the head coaching job that were also true. But instead, he chose to be humble and courageous about his driving force: his love and devotion to God.
In a BIG way.
With all eyes on him.
I loved that display of courageous faith! I want my life to be that courageous.
However, big courage like that doesn’t usually just happen by itself. People don’t just become bold without taking intentional measures to become that way.
Courageous faith is the result of taking the steps necessary to strengthen boldness.
What are those steps?
2 Timothy 1:6-8a says: “This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord.”
In this passage, Paul is urging Timothy to put in the work of:
- FANNING THE FLAMES = strengthening his faith.
- NEVER BEING ASHAMED = willing to share Jesus at every opportunity.
What does fanning the flames look like? He explains a few chapters later:
2 Timothy 4:17: “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip people to do every good work.”
Faith Strengthening is accomplished by being in the Word.
Practically speaking, courageous faith starts with being empowered by the Word of God and then taking advantage of opportunities to share the reason for the hope that we have.
Those are the two steps!
- Be in the Word
- Take advantage of small opportunities to share Christ.
I have watched my coach do both of those things regularly ever since we were married. He has been faithful to read his Bible and to be courageous in the small opportunities, and it led to him having big courage on a big stage.
If I’m honest, I haven’t always been very bold. I would proclaim my faith while I was singing worship songs in church on Sunday mornings, but when I was outside the church, I wasn’t vocal at all. I just tried to fit in, so I kept silent when opportunities to share my faith came up with non-believers. I didn’t want people to think that I was weird, nerdy, or judgmental, so I kept my mouth shut. On the courageous faith scale, I was probably a two or three out of ten. I believed, but I wasn’t bold enough to share my beliefs.
How about you? On a scale of 1 to 10, where does your courage fall?
- 1 being: “I keep my faith to myself.”
- 5 being: “I sometimes share my faith with others.”
- 10 being: “I speak the truth without fear at every opportunity.”
These days, I am intentional to be radically outspoken about God and his love. Not in my own strength, but with a strength and courage built from spending hours reading scripture and from taking many little opportunities to share my faith with friends, neighbors and strangers. With the Spirit’s help, I am living unashamed.
Dear friend, can I encourage you to take two steps toward a more courageous faith? Can I cheer for you to get in the Word and take advantage of little opportunities. Here are a few practical tips:
Get in the Word: read a Psalm, a Proverb and a chapter of the New Testament a day. Start with a book like James, 1 & 2 Timothy, or even Ephesians. They are full of practical and applicable pieces of encouragement and wisdom. For a whole year, my hubby and I would speak 2 Timothy 1:7 to each other daily: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” It gave us the courage we needed to be more bold.
Share your faith: determine a few phrases that you are willing to say when you are in a conversation. For instance, if a friend asks what you did over the weekend, be bold enough to say, “I went to church.” Or even, “I went to church and heard a great sermon.” If a coworker tells you about a problem or pain they are experiencing, respond with, “ Can I pray for you right now?” If someone in your neighborhood is walking through grief, bring a meal and a card that contains a verse and a prayer for them. If you decide to go to a worship night or special service at church, invite others by offering, “Hey, I’m going to an event at my church this week. It should be really fun and uplifting, want to come with me?”
Let’s be strengthened by the Word and then take small steps of courageous faith together. Let’s live unashamed! It’s worth the effort! As always, I love hearing from you. Email me or comment on the blog and I will get on my knees for you. Feel free to share, post and forward this blog – I appreciate your help getting the word out.
*Photo cred for the cover pic goes to Jennifer Koste.
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