Friday, July 21, 2006

Life in Bold

About eight years ago I had a Bible verse in my email signature. It was a verse that I found to be fantastically powerful for me at the time, and it stayed in my signature for a couple of years. Through defunct ISP's and changing of addresses it went away, and through a long time in my life when I made God the least of my priorities, I even forgot what the verse was about. It came up in 63 this week, and it is still as powerful now as it was eight years ago:

Joshua 1:9
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
How fantastic is that? All throughout the Bible: Fear not! Do not be afraid! Be courageous! In Joshua 1:7 it even says, "Be strong and very courageous." As Christians we are supposed to be very courageous, because God is with us! God is our protector, our defender, our provider, and our savior. We have the certainty that God is on our side when we are living according to his will, and when we fail to, we have the certainty that he is waiting to receive us again when we turn back. Through Jesus we are eternally alive, and so we have nothing left to fear.

The Ford Motor Company recently began a new advertising campaign that focuses on the lifestyles of the people who drive their cars. The slogan for the campaign is "Bold Moves," and each commercial tries to define part of what it means to be bold (while hinting that people who are truly bold drive vehicles made by the Ford Motor Company). Every time I see one of these commercials, I am reminded instead of true boldness, the kind we are to have as Christians. Surprisingly, some of what they were saying (or at least my interpretation of it) was actually pretty close to right. Call it another instance of unintended Truth in advertising.

To be bold is to be confident, courageous, open and direct, hiding nothing and fearing nothing. What does it mean to be bold as a Christian? I appropriated some slogans from the commercials to illustrate:

  • Bold Does the Right Thing: This one is from a commercial that depicts a guy using his superpowered pickup truck to move a fallen tree out of the road for another car, even though the car in question holds his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend. Be the one who shocks people by doing the good things that no one expects.
    Proverbs 21:3
    To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

    Romans 12:17
    Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
    In the same vein:

  • Bold Takes Initiative: Don't wait for someone else to act. If you see someone has a need, fill it, or help find someone who can. Act, and let them wonder why.
    Matthew 5:16
    In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
  • Bold Is Passed Down: Be a Godly example for your children and for those who are spiritually young.
    Proverbs 22:6
    Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

    Titus 2:7-8
    In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
  • Bold Is Up to the Challenge: Learn about God, know the Gospel, and don't be afraid to speak when an opportunity arises. Dozens of times in the New Testament the Bible talks about how the apostles spoke boldly, preaching the gospel.
    1 Peter 3:14-16
    But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
  • Bold Overcomes: As Christians we know what is to come, and that knowledge of the true goal should encourage us to endure whatever is necessary to live a Godly life and proclaim the Gospel through our words and actions.
    James 1:2-4
    Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
  • Bold Can't Wait: Think of what we have to look forward to!
    Philippians 3:12-14,20
    Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus...our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I know all of this has been said so many times it is cliché, and I say it here as if it is the most obvious thing in the world, and as if I myself practice it daily. I don't. I have much to learn, much to overcome, and a lot of practicing to do before I will be anything close to what God desires me me to be, and in the end, only God can accomplish that change in me. I will depend on him.

(Note: check out Cate's comment on this post, because that's where the really cool stuff is.)



Blogger Kelly said...

So, there was only one Ford commercial with a proper depiction of boldness in it, or could you just not remember what the other ones were? hehehe

Friday, July 21, 2006 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger treeinforest said...

There was only one in which my interpretation of their point did not differ from theirs.

Friday, July 21, 2006 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

You seem to indicate that there are multiple commercials and even a whole advertising campaign that follows this trend. Yet, you only have one example. :-P

(forgive me please if I'm being a jerk...hehe)

Friday, July 21, 2006 2:30:00 PM  
Blogger treeinforest said...

You can view five of the commercials here, including the one specific example I used:

There are several more not featured on that page.

If you are at all interested in Ford's marketing strategy, you can also get articles and video about their "Bold Moves" corporate initiative here:

Friday, July 21, 2006 4:46:00 PM  
Blogger cate mcmillan said...

hey kelly... i dunno why you think he's talking about one commercial... i watched them (bc we dont get them over here) and the stuff tree commented on is from at least three of the commercials.. anyway, i think its beside the point to argue how much of fords campaighn actually hit the mark Biblically... tree was making a really cool point, and you are watering it down.

in the hebrew (out of josua 1:9) the word 'amats:

1) to be strong, alert, courageous, brave, stout, bold, solid, hard
a) (Qal) to be strong, brave, bold
b) (Piel) to strengthen, secure (for oneself), harden (heart), make firm, make obstinate, assure
c) (Hithpael) to be determined, to make oneself alert, strengthen oneself, confirm oneself, persist in, prove superior to
d) (Hiphil) to exhibit strength, be strong, feel strong

i find it interesting that the root word is used also to say do not harden your heart (deut 15:7).. so another aspect of boldness is open-heartedness. i guess that makes sence, if your heart is open, you are vulnerable...
in ruth we see the same hebrew word used to discribe the "steadfastly minded" ruth. so boldness means determination.
in 1kings 12:18, the word is used as "made haste".. so boldness is an active word, not put off.
in 2chr 13:18 the word becomes prevailed or victorious. boldness holds on to the end, the victory (which we have in Jesus).
i'll leave out the references to strengthend and courageous, because that is what we think of naturally when confronted with the word bold..

i find it interesting that this hebrew word is used repeatedly when the Bible tells us to be bold... especially since there is another, simpler, hebrew word "batach" that is used far more often (especially in psalms and proverbs).. it simply means
1) to trust
a) (Qal)
1) to trust, trust in
2) to have confidence, be confident
3) to be bold
4) to be secure
b) (Hiphil)
1) to cause to trust, make secure
2) (TWOT) to feel safe, be careless

thats pretty much what i thought up until this point when i heard the word "bold." i think the term 'amats challenges us to new dimensions of boldness. (thats why i went into so much detail..sorry if it bugs tree, this is his blog, not mine...)

tree, this was a really cool post. i'd like to translate parts of it (and the comments) and use it next week for our street group... i think it is a great encouragement.

my personal problem isn't in the boldness part. i have that down. show me a lion, i'll sick my head in its mouth. my life tends to scare those around me because of its boldness (especially gram).. its the other part of the verse that i continually need to remember: that i can only afford this rather stupid (by worldly standards) boldness because GOD is with me. that no matter how bold i am, if i don't go forth with Him, that lion is going to bite my head off. and yes, God can still love me and sew my little head back on (hopefully after shrinking it back down to size).

Saturday, July 22, 2006 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger treeinforest said...

Not a problem at all, Cate. You said it better than I did.

Saturday, July 22, 2006 11:17:00 AM  

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