It is virtually impossible to love people while also fearing them. This month, would you please pray for Christians and leaders across Southeastern Pennsylvania to love people and fear nothing short of the Lord himself.

  • Hear Peter’s words as he and John stand before angry religious leaders: We must obey God rather than man.
  • Hear the words of Paul as the magistrates try to quietly dismiss he and Silas after the earthquake: They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out. The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. So, they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city.
  • Hear the words of Christ himself: Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Instead of fearing people,
the scriptures call for confidence and boldness.

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus… since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith… without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works... Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 
(Hebrews 10:19-24, 35)

The only way that confidence can remain strong and consistent is if it is not based on self.

  • Philippians 3:3 - For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 - And I, when I came to you, brothers and sisters, did not come…with lofty speech or wisdom.  For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but din the power of God.

This is why there is continual exhortation to Timothy, Joshua, and many others throughout scripture to be bold and courageous, not afraid or timid. They must lean into the Lord to draw the confidence necessary to LEAD in strong love!!! Paul, who gave that encouragement to Timothy, even requests prayer for personal boldness in letters to Colosse and Ephesus. So, let’s pray for true, bold, confident authority to rise up in the Church of our region. We are not praying for defiance or rebellion, only the confidence within the realm of authority given.
A note about authority as you pray: Authority needs to be alive, breathing, discerning, and wise in order to be effective. When authority is cold, rote, distant, and incessantly repetitive, only protecting what has been, it causes hindrance rather than true protection that leads to further mobilization. The scriptures are written but not rote, solid but active, unchanging but living and breathing. Christ who is the central character of the scripture and whose Spirit authored those scriptures and brings them to light for us is likewise unchanging but completely non-conforming and non-repetitive. The themes, patterns, and threads of his movements reveal his essence, nature, and character, but He is living and moves when, how, and where He likes.
Humans who will serve as effective authority must be able to flow with the Lord and the text. Their confidence cannot be in tradition or the victories of the past. These things petrify patterns and the people grow inflexible. Pray for leaders who are confident in God’s presence, filled with God’s wisdom and burdened with his love. May they lead not to themselves, their kingdoms, or the sustaining of lesser kingdoms. With great boldness may they guard and lead the church to Christ and his kingdom.