Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Courage to be a Big Mouth

Chutzpah - supreme self-confidence, boldness, nerve, sometimes an obnoxious aggressiveness

In the eighth chapter of Brennan Manning's book, The Furious Longing of God titled 'boldness', Manning follows up this definition with a couple of examples from the book of Hebrews:

Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (4:16, NASB, emphasis added)

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith. (10:19-22, NASB, emphasis added)

Although the Hebrew word 'huspah', from where we get today's word chutzpah, is not the word used here (the Orthodox Jewish Bible uses the word 'bitachon') these verses do uncover an interesting word in the Greek: parresia. This word shows up a few other times in the New Testament. A sampling:
  • When they saw the courage of Peter and John... –Acts 4:13
  • ...enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. –Acts 4:28
  • ...were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. -Acts 4:31
  • Christ I could be bold and order you... – Philemon 1:8
  • I have spoken to you with great frankness... -2 Corinthians 7:4
  • In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. –Ephesians 3:12
  • ...if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. –Hebrews 3:6
  • Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. -2 Corinthians 3:12
  • He spoke plainly about this... –Mark 8:32
What is interesting is how most of these verses are about speaking out. Note the last definition of chutzpah above- obnoxious aggressiveness; in other words, having a big mouth.

Do you have a big mouth when it comes to God?

Recently in our recovery ministry someone was sharing about a business opportunity and how unnatural it was to be assertive. (Our group is as much a counseling session, if not more, as it is a sobriety program. Recovering addicts often don't have the tools to function 'normally' and confidently, so we counsel one another on life issues just as much as we help each other with addiction.) This opportunity was everything this brother had been praying for, but there was still this nagging feeling that there was a catch.

For many of us, being assertive- having chutzpah- just doesn't come naturally. In some church environments we are even made to feel guilty for not being "bold". We want to speak up, but there always seems to be an underlying fear- that there is a catch, that we won't be accepted, that maybe we just aren't good enough.

Remember Moses' whining (yes, I said whining) about not being able to speak? He lacked chutzpah.

Now me saying, "be bold!" isn't likely to change your character. In fact, this is something I continue to pray about regularly because I struggle with it as well. But there is a biblical basis for such a change in attitude: "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV)

Brennan Manning closes his chapter by asking, "What do you want? Today, right now? Boldly ask." This is a hard challenge for me. Is it for you?

Consider this:

If Jesus were to ask you, right now- what do you want?- what would you say? Seriously, what would your answer be?

Bartimaeus had to drop his security blanket. What represents security for you? How is Jesus asking you to drop it?

This post continues discussion on Brennan Manning's book, The Furious Longing of God. Please check out Jason Sasyzsen's and Sarah Salter's blogs for more discussion. The "consider this" questions come straight from the book- use them as a springboard for your own thoughts and feel free to share them here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Frank, I responded to your comment on my post with similar things, but it does not come naturally for me. I've felt plenty guilty at various times for "holding back," but at the same time, I've come a long way past some intense shyness and insecurities. The difference is always my relationship with and experience of God. I try to make myself do certain things and it doesn't work. I've also figured out that in some ways, boldness doesn't look the same in every person. I mean to say, how we express boldness can be different. I'll keep learning and growing with you, Frank! Thanks for the great post.