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This devotional is part of a series in January that tells stories of “Bold Faith” written by CBF field personnel and members of a team composed of clergy and laity from across the Fellowship who are leading of process of prayerful discovery that will result in a faithful response. Find out more about this process called Toward Bold Faithfulness.
By Mina Podgaiskaya
The dictionary defines “bold” as “a person, action, or idea; showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous.” This description seems something that I would like to be—a risk taker. I do want to be confident and certainly I would love to be courageous. Yet, it may seem that at times it would be scary to be a bold person.
There is also a second definition to “bold”: “of a color or design-having a strong or vivid appearance.”
Now, this definition seems to fit me perfectly! As a Mexican, I love bright colors. This type of boldness is easy for me.
We know that by being bold or acting boldly, one could be at risk of physical danger, losing a job, losing a friend, being embarrassed, or damaging one’s reputation. In order to be bold, one must be strong and have an unyielding belief in self, unwavering convictions and firm self-respect to be true to one’s beliefs and convictions.
What is bold faith to me? I think that boldness grows the same way faith grows. Faith grows one challenge, one test, one step of faith at a time. Faith grows by trusting and believing in little things, and acting on them and then trusting and acting in faith in bigger things. Each time one acts in faith, one becomes bolder thereby growing in bold faith!
Sometimes my bold faith has looked like a loss—telling my best friend in high school that I was an evangelical Christian, even if it meant that I might lose my friendship with that girl. I did lose that relationship after all. Also, responding to God’s call to serve Him full-time meant that I had to end my three-year relationship with my boyfriend (who wanted to marry me) in order to go to seminary.
Sometimes my bold faith looked like a big risk—as when I took a 10-hour car drive to enter seminary. I had food for a month in my vehicle along with a sleeping bag to sleep in my car since I did not yet have a place to sleep, and not enough money to pay for tuition. By the time I arrived at the seminary, God had miraculously arranged all those necessities for my studies.
At times my bold faith has also looked a bit crazy, as when I said yes to a Russian Christian when he asked me to marry him.
When one chooses to live for Christ and follow Him, there is no other option but to grow in bold faith.
My latest discovery and realization is that bold faith can also be unwanted, dreaded and heartbreaking. At the end of February, I will experience a new level of growth in bold faith when I will leave my three college-age children in the States (literally, they will be in three different states), and I/we return to the mission field in Ukraine. Praise God, we just celebrated Christmas together with all our children for the first time in four years. I will have to trust God with my most valuable possession—my three, also bold-faith-growing, young adult children! That will require me to become brave and courageous for sure!
Bold faith in my ministry may look embarrassing, as when I learned to speak the Russian language the first months/years after arriving in Ukraine. Yes, at times bold faith can also bring physical danger, as in the time when I was in junior high and we were starting a church in the outskirts of Mexico City and some people threw rocks at us; physical danger as when we had to be ready within couple of hours to evacuate our home in Kyiv because of the Orange Revolution—the civil unrest in downtown Kyiv that led to the killing of more than 100 civilians, or when the president of Ukraine declared martial law a year ago.
If you have met me, you will know that my bold faith is exhibited in a strong and vivid way, when I teach, preach and share my feelings deeply, passionately, generously and loudly to the Ukrainian people that have been trained to hide their feelings beneath stern faces.
Why is being bold important? One person responded: “Some people who choose to be bold are inspiring not just because they get big things accomplished, but because they also instigate growth, progress and movement for themselves and others around them.”
This reminds me of Jesus’ life—a life that inspired and convicted people, accomplished things and instigated growth in those around Him. A very important thing to note is that one must choose to be bold. One must choose to have faith, and one must choose to act on that faith. Oh, how I wish to inspire those I encounter! How I wish to instigate growth and progress in me and in those around me! How I wish to be more like Christ!
Would you be willing to take risks, even when it may look like a loss or embarrassment or craziness? Are you willing to have bold faith even if it is unwanted, dreaded and heartbreaking? However, the risks are not necessary to have to have a strong vivid appearance!
Mina Podgaiskaya is a CBF field personnel serving alongside her husband, Gennady, in Kyiv, Ukraine. To learn more about and support their ministry, visit www.cbf.net/podgaisky. To take a step in bold faith with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, complete CBF’s online survey today at www.cbf.net/survey.