Year of Calling: Bold


Week 20 Word: Bold

Week 20 Text: Philippians 3:3

Written by: Lindsey Carlson


“We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort….” (Philippians 3:3 NLT)

We live in a culture of self-reliance. We celebrate the “self made” person, applauding success in the realms of finance, material possessions, professional accolades, the perfect house, the perfect kids, the perfect marriage…the list goes on and on. To define oneself apart from human effort can feel counter-intuitive…and maybe even lonely.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians was written while he was imprisoned. His encouragement to rely only on Christ came about in a moment the world would define as defeat. Paul’s message to us reframes success and self-reliance, reminding us that we can rely fully on the saving grace of our Lord Jesus. Did you catch that? No confidence in human effort. What the world sees as failure, Christ sees as an opportunity for redemption through full reliance on Him and His promises.

The question “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” is one that is often used as an inspirational way to encourage people to find their passion. To ask ourselves this question in light of this week’s scripture is a powerful exercise. As believers, we cannot fail when we put our faith and hope in Jesus. We really can’t! When the world defines our success in earthly outcomes, we can rest assured in the eternal promises of Christ. His will for our lives is perfect. Nothing surprises Him. Of course, this does not mean we are exempt from struggle and heartache. What the world sees as failure or darkness, Christ sees as an opportunity for deeper relationship and reliance on Him.

As beloved daughters of the King, we can be imprisoned in the world’s cells. We can be tempted to believe that we are not enough, or we don’t have enough, or we can’t possibly be enough. Images of success flash in our social media feeds, on TV, and in our perceptions of others. Jesus longs to set us free from the world…to redeem us as His precious daughters. We have been saved. We are treasured because He loves us. When the house is a mess, the kids are screaming, the bank account is empty…we are treasured and loved. We are not defined by the world; we are set apart.

To embrace this focus requires a boldness that is infused in us by the Spirit. To look at the world and say “only Jesus” means taking a step in a new direction. It means we keep our eyes on Jesus even when things are really, really good…and also when they are really, really hard. It means stepping out in Faith when we are called to something new, trusting He will equip us fully. It is a choice to focus on the eternal instead of the earthly. Making the choice to focus on the eternal breeds a success that surpasses anything the world can provide. Dark spaces are made light.

Guess what? Human efforts fail. The tide turns. Peaks become valleys. But we can rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us and know that He will be with us every step of the way as we step out in Faith and choose to boldly redefine success. Always.

Application Questions:

1. Close your eyes and imagine Jesus reaching out to you. Picture yourself looking only at Him. How does this image make you feel? Is it uncomfortable, peaceful, or something in between?

2. What area of your life is Jesus calling you to be bold? How does knowing that we can rely fully on Christ Jesus encourage you as you approach the area you’ve identified?

3. What keeps you from being able to fully rely on Jesus? Name those barriers. Pray that Jesus will help you lift those barriers and focus solely on Him.