Chuck Foreman – Teaching Pastor
“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord or ashamed of me his prisoner.” These are Paul’s words to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:7-8). Paul was under house arrest in Rome at the time he wrote this. He was preparing to stand trial before Caesar and face his Jewish accusers because of his faith in the resurrected Jesus. It would likely come out during his trial that he also refused to worship the emperor before whom he stood. He knew what it meant to be unashamed of the truth, to tell the truth and courageously face the consequences.
Peter and John’s courage was noted by the Sanhedrin when they unashamedly told them that God had given us no other name that could bring salvation than Jesus. All of the Apostles openly refused to stop speaking about their experience with Jesus and about his resurrection, even though they were commanded not to do so. It cost them jail time, floggings, and even death. Now that’s courage.
Most of us aren’t ever forced into this kind of civil disobedience in order to remain true to our faith. But it could come. It might do us all good to decide in advance what we will do should we ever face the kind of persecution the Apostles faced or even what many of our brothers and sisters face now in restricted access countries.
Our actual challenge is to courageously talk about Jesus even when we face absolutely no reprisal except possible verbal ridicule. What are you willing to risk to put in a good word for Jesus with your friends? Remember: courage ≠ obnoxious. Peter, one of the most courageous of the Apostles said it like this: “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (I Peter 3:15)
With whom do you need to start following the Way of Courage and let them know about the better way of living you’ve found by following Jesus?