How well do you hold your ground on issues that matter? When challenged or coerced are you able to stand firm and not waver, or is the threat to your reputation or person enough to cause you to sin?
“Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”(Ephesians 5:17)
One of the qualities most lacking in today’s society is that of relentless courage. This is the quality that clings to that which is right and refuses to back down, even under extreme coercion or personal threat.
Because certain people derive pleasure in dictating the behavior of others and human nature is inherently sinful and self-willed, it is, perhaps, inevitable that the ungodly attempt to force compliance. Paul tells us, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12) If you hold your ground on the truth of Scripture, you will eventually make people upset. Some will give up and walk away, and some will simply try harder to get you to do as they wish. Thus, persecution is a consequence of the steadfast refusal of the godly to disobey Christ.
Yet God’s heart is for us to see things through His eyes–with an eternal perspective. Jesus taught quite a bit about this very subject in Matthew 10:28-39 and it is worth examining in detail:
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
–We are NOT to be afraid of other human beings; all they are able to do is kill our bodies–which, quite honestly, can sound terrifying. Yet Jesus tells us that it is God whom we are to truly fear because He can destroy both our body and soul eternally.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
–Nothing can happen to us unless God allows it; so not only does He know about any bad thing we are facing, we also know that, “…all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
“Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”
–Confessing Christ under extenuating circumstances is what brings Him glory, and it is what seems to have historically opened doors to the furtherance of the gospel. It is, furthermore, a requisite to Christ confessing us to the Father–essential, because none of us can stand before the Father on our own merit.
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ “
–The gospel is a message of peace and reconciliation between the holy God and sinful man, but it frequently brings animosity and divisiveness in an ungodly culture.
“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”
–Nothing–no human relationship, no desire for peace within the family–can be more important to us than Christ. Christ must be ALL to us, or He isn’t much of anything to us, and we aren’t worthy of Him.
“He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”
–In this life we try to build our empires and make sacrifices and concessions to acquire it, but Jesus says that if we “find our life” we will lose it. Instead, when we refuse to compromise, knowing that it might cost us much in this world–whether in terms of wealth or position or even personal well-being–Jesus promises that as contrary as it sounds, we are really gaining our life.
More pointedly, God specifically tells us that those without the kind of courage that refuses to deny Christ will not inherit His kingdom:
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle [dwelling place] of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’ And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.'” (Revelation 21:1-8)
So how well do you hold your ground on things of eternal significance? May we overcome that we may inherit all things, and that the true and only God may be our God and we be His children!
Help us not be unwise, but understand what Your will is. Amen!