Are you willing to live a life of courage for Christ?
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
A while ago I picked up a book called A Closer Walk: Fifty-Two Meditations by Ernest and Marie Williams from the Lifeline Bookfest. It’s a series of devotionals (not unlike Grow Daily actually). One is about the courage Jesus had during his time on earth.
“Physical courage is always admired, but it is the unseen spiritual courage that counts most. I might well be spurred on to an act of physical courage – it is something people look for me to have, but I need inward strength and faith for mental and spiritual courage, and for that I can only rely on God. How many a man of courage has fallen when attacked on a moral or spiritual issue. Yet today I see clearly that the world so greatly needs men and women who will not falter in upholding the highest principles, often needing great courage to stand against the surrounding indifference, apathy, derision, and even insidious opposition.
This was the supreme example of Jesus of Nazareth under all circumstances, but particularly in the wilderness, in Gethsemane, before Pilate, and on Calvary. When I survey that wondrous life of love I also see in it wondrous courage – supreme courage; and if I am to be like Him I must have this courage and endurance also. Of course, I cannot have it for myself, but only as a gift of God. Then, with the indwelling of His Holy Spirit and implicit trust, I too will also be given the true courage through all the vicissitudes, trials, and dangers of my life – for my victorious Captain will ever be by my side. Was it not at Pentecost that the same men who had fled in fear and deserted Him only a few weeks earlier, had courage to stand before the authorities, and facing all dangers, declared themselves His followers? And so through the ages.”
(E & M Williams (19–). A Closer Walk: Fifty-Two Meditations: Publisher)
We are not the first people in history to be asked to follow the Lord in Faith. The previous chapter in Hebrews lists out many people who faithfully followed the Lord: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel. There are many others other than those listed in chapter 11. Job, Daniel, Ruth, Mary & Joseph, Paul… are the some that come to mind for me.
All of these lives were riddled with sin falling short countless times. Yet God used them. He gave them great courage and perseverance to stand against the torrent of sin in the world. If he has done so with so many before, we can truly have faith that he can do the same with us.
Most of all though we have the Jesus as an example to observe and strive towards. He suffered the greatest hardship and opposition. Yet he persevered to the end. The end of his life. So that we don’t have to feel the agonising pain of eternal death (What wondrous love is this!).
Head: Have a think. In what ways can you can preserver for Christ’s cause?
Heart: Now think harder, because more often than not they are things we know in our hearts are going to be hard and bring us anxiety and at times pain so we put them off.
Hands: Share these things with people you love so they can encourage you in them. Also encourage those people to be seeking out the same kinds of situations which require a courage that could never come from ourselves.
Prayer: Lord, Thank you for the great courage you displayed in your life and death. Thank you also for the great cloud of witnesses we have in the bible. Help me be one of those people who is willing to put myself in situations where I need to rely on you for courage. I pray that you would use my life to further your kingdom. Amen
A song to listen to: The Cause Of Christ
Celina Facey – Creek Road Presbyterian Church – Carina