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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 Scarlette Jasper
To me, bold faith means having the confidence, assurance and certainty that God is there for me always when I step out on faith and do what God has asked me to do. “Christ Jesus, our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him” (Ephesians 3:11-12). Sharing the good news, investing in the work of the Kingdom, and raising support are not easy tasks, and often the path is not clear and the ground is shaky.
Three times in my life I have quit stable jobs that helped support my family to step out on faith to do work that I felt God was calling me to do. These opportunities did not guarantee a steady income.
The first instance occurred when I left a longtime steady job with a nonprofit to go to work for a domestic violence shelter. It was a new position where I would be doing financial counseling with domestic violence survivors. I would have to raise my own salary through writing grants for the financial counseling program. I later left that position to start my own nonprofit, operating a homeless shelter and continuing the financial counseling work. Once again, I had to raise my own salary through grants to do this work. And finally, I was commissioned as field personnel through Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
I had felt called to the ministry for years. I did not recognize or heed this call because I had been taught that I could not do this work as a minister. Through the support of my family, I came to terms with what God was calling me to do and how God wanted me to continue my work as a missionary.
This experience was different. There were no grants to write and I was the primary earner in my household because my husband was disabled. I was going to be completely partner–funded in ministry. When I think about bold faith, I picture Isaiah with his hands up saying, “Here I am Lord, send me.” I accepted this challenge without knowing what the future would hold and without knowing how I would make it work.
These are the kinds of times when those around you question your actions. There are times when I have felt alone and had very little support. And yet I can look back and know that these times were the best examples in my life of bold faith and obedience to God. They are times when I knew that I made the right decision. All of these opportunities led to the ministry work that I do today.
Even then, God was equipping me for the work God wanted me to be involved in for the Kingdom. I had never seen myself as someone that God could use. Once I accepted the fact that God could use me in all my weakness, it then came down to stepping out in faith, believing that as God used me, God would also take care of me.
Bold faith is not self-confidence; it is confidence in the cross, in Christ alone. Bold faith in God is through the power of the resurrection. This same Spirit gives us bold faith.
Romans 12:3 states, “God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” This same confidence in the cross is what continues to sustain me since the death of my husband. I know that I am not alone. God is always with me.
Scarlette Jasper serves as a CBF field personnel in Kentucky and Tennessee. Learn more about and support her work at www.cbf.net/jasper. Take a step in bold faith with Scarlette by taking CBF’s online survey at www.cbf.net/survey.