It's Ann here, and today we’re looking at our final story in Paul’s life. A story about Bold Speech.
Yep, Bold Speech!
It’s funny to talk about bold speech here in our community because a motto of our ministry, for years, has been ‘Winning him without words’. Most of us will know that motto comes from 1 Peter 3:1 which encourages believing wives to focus on good conduct rather than being too pushy towards their husbands on the matter of conversion.
Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives (1 Peter 3:1, NKJV).
The essence of that scripture is perhaps that the believing spouse should focus on their own conduct and heart. And I think that is the journey we've been on in this community -- A helpful journey. I can certainly see how it helped in my own marriage. But, alongside that there is a place for bold speech in our home. And I do wonder if God is taking us in that direction more. We’ve just got to learn to speak when the Holy Spirit says, that’s all.
After converting to Christianity, Paul spent three years quietly with Jesus (Galatians 1:18). I imagine much of that time was spent delighting in his Savior, but there was also a deep time of learning. An equipping. An absorption of truth. And then he came out.
To everything there is a season and a purpose under heaven. While away with Jesus it was mostly not Paul's time to speak. Afterwards, it was.
After coming out, one of the first things we see Paul do is publicly speak out in a very difficult situation. It is right at the beginning of his ministry, in Acts 13:4-12, and he is to speak a hard word of truth. It wasn't something fluffy and feel-good at all. No, instead he was to call out and curse a false prophet. Not just that, the guy was a sorceror. Gulp!
Paul had everything he needed, though: He had a close relationship with Jesus, and He had the Holy Spirit. The false prophet’s name was Elymas. And he was actively in full swing, deceiving those in authority. Paul arrived, and took a careful look. I can imagine this was a longggg, drawn-out look; a look where he narrowed his eyes, watched for a while, and gave space for the Holy Spirit to whisper to him.
He might have said quietly, "Lord, I think this is what you're asking me to say. Can I just check this is right?" Then he might have waited a while.
Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, ‘O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?
And now indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.” And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. (Acts 13:9-11, NKJV)
Not easy to do. But Paul seems so strong. I imagine his strength to be a quiet confidence, the kind that comes from Jesus.
For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10, NKJV).
Anyway, in this situation the Holy Spirit asked him to stand up and speak specific words. And Paul continued to do that in his ministry, as we see in his letters to various churches. Whether or not Paul was a natural out-spoken sort didn't matter. It was the Spirit of Christ working in him.
I suppose the lesson here is that God does usually ask us to be warm and gracious to people, but sometimes he does the opposite and asks us to speak direct truth into a situation of deception. This might even happen in our marriage. Either way -- Wherever we are at with this -- We must speak when the Holy Spirit nudges us to, and in the manner he asks us to.
Next week I'll share a journey I'm having with 'bold speech' in my own home. But for now perhaps we can share in the comments: Have you been bold by speaking out in your home about something lately?