Makes The Difference
Nobody respects a
coward. We admire people who are courageous. In every movie that
has a hero we admire, it is because of their courage. The bad guys
nearly always turn out to be cowards.
Some of the guys
among us can remember when they were still a kid in school and
someone would dare them to do something dangerous. Some of you
probably did some of the stupidest, most dangerous life
threatening things you’ve ever done. Why? So that you wouldn’t
be labeled with that dreaded word chicken! You wanted to
come off in the eyes of your peers as courageous…not as a
Usually, when we
think of courage we think of heroic, death defying acts. We think
of firemen going into burning buildings to rescue little children…policemen
in a shootout with hardened criminals…soldiers falling on a
grenade to save their buddies…seamen going out into a stormy sea
to rescue people from a sinking boat.
The fact is that
every one of us faces choices every day in which we come out
either courageous or a coward. It takes a great deal of courage to
face the daily challenges of life without becoming a wimp.
The Christian Life
Requires Special Courage
who desire to make a difference in the world we are going to face
unique challenges that are going to require a great deal of
courage. Listen to these words of Jesus in John 16:33: “These
things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the
world you have tribulation (tough challenges), but be of
good cheer , I have overcome the world.”
Perhaps you have
heard someone say, “Religion is for weak people” or “Belief
in God is a crutch for people who aren’t strong enough to stand on
their own.” Such statements are made out of total ignorance of
what the true Christian life is all about.
It takes enormous
courage to be a Christian when most unregenerate people
automatically despise you when you openly reveal that you are a
person of faith in Jesus Christ. Hugh Huett gave a good
illustration of this. He is professor of law at Chatman
University. He is also co-host of the Emmy award winning TV show, Life
and Times. In addition, he is the writer of the book, “Searching
For God In America” and creator of the TV mini series
that came from it. Following are his words:
“The elite media
in America hates Christians with a passion in terms that they are
threatened by those who have an absolute moral standard and they
punish them…There was a Washington Post story…that
called evangelicals ill educated and easily led. It was retracted
the next day, but it had gone past three levels of editorial
scrutiny when the PhD's and JD’s and all the degrees of the world
rained down their scorn on them. If you
followed the coverage of the Promise Keepers, especially in Time
magazine…you’ll know that it was treated as though the Huns
had invaded the nation’s capitol and were looting the city. I
want to assure you, on the basis of having lived there six years,
there was never a safer time to live in Washington, D.C. than
during that week that the Promise Keepers were there.”
It is well to note
that the Promise Keepers are making a difference by going forward
with their call to godliness and faithfulness in the face of scorn
by the established media.
To Make A Difference
In The World Requires Courage
Christians will not
change the world by imitating it. To inspire others to know God
and to commit to pleasing God and being a positive blessing to
their fellow man we are going to have to be different. And to be
honest we have to face the fact that there are people in the world
who automatically have unfriendly feelings about a Christian whose
life is so dynamic that it is changing others.
Areas Where Special
Courage Is Needed
We Need Courage
To Stand Up For Christ
Do you consider
yourself a sincere believer in Jesus Christ; believing that Jesus
was and is the eternal Son of God Who entered the human family by
the way of virgin birth; believing that although He was tempted in
every way like we are yet He never sinned; believing that the sins
of every human being was laid on Jesus and He faced the judgment
of God’s perfect law for our sakes? Do you believe that He
experienced physical and spiritual death as our substitute…that
”Christ died for our sins.”; that Jesus rose again and
ascended back to the heavenly Father’s right hand? Have you
reached out to Christ by faith and asked Jesus to forgive your
sins and save your soul? Did you believe Him to do it?
Now, let me ask you
these questions: Do all your family members know you believe all
these things about Christ? Do the people where you work know? Do
the people you meet regularly in the normal course of your life
know you believe this, ..the neighbors…the people where you shop
or at restaurants or activities you attend? For those of you who
can answer yes, you also know it took some courage to let everyone
know that you are a person of faith in Jesus Christ. Some of you
know deep down in your heart that you do not have the courage to
stand up for the faith you have in Jesus Christ. If you ever are
going to stand up for Christ, you are going to have to find
We Need Courage
To Resist Temptations
None of us are
exempt from temptation. When we get saved we get the life of God
in our spiritual nature, but we don't lose our fleshly nature. Our
enlivened spiritual nature delights in God and the things that
please Him and bring blessing to others. Our fleshly nature still
delights in pleasing self with the lusts of the flesh, the lust of
the eyes, and the pride of life. The Devil and his fallen angels
(called "demons" in scripture) have a limitless arsenal
of fiery darts to set various aspects of these three areas on fire
in our flesh. Powerful forces pressure us to live according to the
desires of our fleshly nature and the values of a worldly system
living independently of God. Do we even need to say these
temptations are rampant; abuse of alcohol and drugs, pornography,
lying, gossip, cheating, immorality, etc abound. Christians are
pressured to be part of this in various forms or be considered
antisocial. Satan and his imps knows where each of us is the most
vulnerable. The more mature we become as Christians, the more
subtle they know how to make these temptations The foundation of
being able to resist temptation is the need for courage. Where do
we get it?
We Need Courage
To Face The Challenges of Life
A mother is told
she has cancer that is potentially fatal.
A highly respected
husband and wife get a call from the police that their child has
just been busted in a drug raid. They face the embarrassing news,
the expenses of court and perhaps seeing their child go to jail.
A mid-life couple
with good incomes, an expensive home filled with fine
furniture,.---and heavy debt, learn that the primary breadwinner
will be laid off because the company is downsizing.
These and thousands
of other challenges are hitting people everyday. Americans are
seeking the solution in train loads of tranquilizers; millions of
dollars spent on psychotherapy. some even suicide. All this is
evidence that courage to face these challenges is elusive.
We Need Courage
To Serve The Lord With Our Gifts and Abilities
I believe God has
gifted me as a pastor/teacher and leader. Yet, one of the most
frightening experiences I ever had was the first time I stood up
to teach a 4th grade boys'
Sunday School class. I had studied the lesson and prepared.
However, I was so nervous that I spoke so fast that in
approximately five minutes I had said everything I knew to say and
there was still about 40 minutes to go. I experienced that same
fear when I began house-to-house visitation. I have had scores
tell me they felt the same fears when they began serving the Lord.
Many have such fear that they don't even try in the first place.
The conclusion of
Hebrews 12 is, "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom
which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may
serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." (verse 28). If we are going to serve God acceptably in a world that
has declared its independence from God we are going to have to
find the courage to do it.
We Need Courage
To Face Death And Eternity
At death the soul
and spirit leave the body and go forth to meet our Maker…prepared
or unprepared. For the body it is the end of the earthly life. The
souls of those not prepared by salvation through Christ will be
kept in the confinement of Hades with the souls of all others who
died unprepared. The body will have a resurrection to be rejoined
with the soul and spirit and stand trial at the Great White Throne Judgment. Then will be the sentencing to what God calls in human
language "the lake of fire." It is wise to have fear of
such an eternal fate.
Only God can give
the courage to face death and eternity with perfect peace.
How Do We Get
The Courage We Need?
By entering into
a relationship with God.
Accept what God has
said about His Son, Jesus, receiving the punishment for our sin in
our place; being buried; rising again and ascending back to
heaven. Ask Jesus to forgive our sins and save us and believe Him
to do it. At that instant we receive a spiritual birth into God's
family and a vast array of God's works of grace (good favors)
begin taking place. Fear of death and eternity is gone. There is
joyful anticipation of entering into unhindered fellowship with
our heavenly Father and our Savior.
Confess Our Faith In Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men,
him I will confess
before My Father who is in heaven." Matthew 10:32.
Our New Testament states the two basic ways we confess Jesus is:
1) verbally stating that we are a believer in, and a follower of
Christ, and 2) following Jesus in believers' baptism by immersion.
Confession of Christ has the effect of burning the bridges to our
old life behind us. It clarifies in our mind that we now accept
both the joys and the challenges of whatever our Christian journey
Our Christian Beliefs And Values.
An amazing amount
of courage comes from settling in your heart and mind that your
beliefs and values are right. We must humbly ask the Holy Spirit
to give us understanding as we study and meditate on God's word.
There is also great value in learning from others what God has
shown them from their studies, meditation and experience. We are
strengthened when the rightness of our beliefs are reconfirmed in
the experiences of everyday life.
By Purifying Our
that are self-serving in our relationships with others greatly
weaken our courage. And should. When our motives are 100% good and
wholesome for those with whom we have relationships. it removes
all fear from our encounters.
Dependence On God To Empower All We Do
Without God's power
working in us and through us we cannot accomplish all that God
wants us to do. We should increasingly feel and express our
dependence on our Lord, ask Him to empower us and accomplish His
purposes in us and through us in all we do and in all we face…
and believe Him to do it. We will find ourselves living with the
supernatural courage that only God can give
May each of us
learn to live with the courage God wants every one of His children
Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted