Friday, July 17, 2009

The Courageous Christian #5

We have been examining the need for courage in the life of a follower of Christ. Even in the United States it is not easy to be a Christian. The world is trying to convince us to compromise and not live out the faith that we claim to have. We are mocked for the believes that we hold, and sometimes their are personal attacks as we proclaim God’s and love people. If we do not have courage we will not be able to follow Christ for long.

I think one of the truths that we have to remember in this discussion of courage is that there is no guarantee of success. Hebrews 11 gives us a great reminder of this reality:

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:32-40; ESV)

Just because we step out in faith and display courage doesn’t mean that things will go well for us. Many followers of Christ have had to show courage and they faced their death. They didn’t experience the victory in this life, but they knew better things awaited them. Their courage was an extension of their hope.

When we have hope that God can turn the worst circumstances, even our deaths, into something wonderful we will be able to live with courage. Hope is what we get when we have been with Jesus, because we know that if He can conquer death then He has the power to do a whole lot more. Hope comes from having a grand purpose to our lives, because we know that there are somethings worth fighting for and that we are able to make a difference in this world. Courage and hope are linked. If you don’t have hope there is no way that you will be able to live with courage.

In If You Want to Walk On Water You Have to Get Out of the Boat John Ortberg wrote, “When you are in a situation that creates fear, but you face it head-on, you will feel a rush of satisfaction in knowing you displayed courage.”

Anytime we display courage we are heroes. Living a hero’s life will give us satisfaction because we know we stood up for what mattered, rather than backing down. Everyday we face opportunities to show courage, to be a hero. The question you have to ask yourself is, “Do I want to be hero?” To help you answer that question God is saying; “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9; NASB).

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