DayBreaks for 5/18/17 – Courageous Faith

DayBreaks for 5/18/17: Courageous Faith

John 12:42-43 (ESV) – Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.

Who doesn’t love glory? Who doesn’t love to receive praise and recognition and, yes, honor? On our birthdays we pretend to not care that we’re the center of attention, but we are inwardly pleased to be recognized as having achieved yet another milestone (especially as we get older and the milestones become more significant!) But this is entirely different. Though many leaders of the Jews believed in Jesus (how could they not given all he’d done and how he taught?), they didn’t confess him.

When I read today’s passage, my heart and mind instantly jump into judgement mode: “Shame on them! What cowards!” And to make it worse, I then jump almost instantly to boastful mode, “I wouldn’t have done that! I’d have boldly proclaimed my belief in Jesus – no matter the cost!” But would I really?

We don’t know who these “authorities” were who believed, though we might surmise Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were among them. But there were others, for John says there were “many” who believed in Jesus. To be a Jewish authority, you HAD to be part of the synagogue, part of the heart and soul of the nation’s faith and religion. To proclaim faith in Jesus would have been religious, social, political and even economic suicide to these men – and those who depended on them. When I think of it in that light and think about my own insecurities about my livelihood and finances, I find myself less than certain that I would have stood up to be counted as a follower of Christ.

It is lessons like this that put my weak faith into perspective. In spite of how I might try to honor my own faith by thinking how great or strong it is, if I insert myself into the shoes of those “many” authorities, I realize how weak my faith may truly be. Are you ready to take a stand for your faith in Jesus if it means the loss of your job, your reputation, your income – perhaps even your ability to ever find and hold work again? That’s what was at stake for these men. That doesn’t mean that they made the right choice – but this lesson in human frailty is sobering to me.

One other thing makes it easier to seek the praise of men rather than God. The praise of this world is immediately accessible as long as I do what the world wants me to do and think. God’s praise is primarily held in reserve for the day I stand before His throne. But His approval is the only approval that will endure and that will matter on that day. He won’t give me approval for following the ways of the society and world, but He will give me approval for even my weak faith in Jesus – and that will make all the difference.  

PRAYER: How we need greater, fearless faith, Jesus! Give us bold hearts and the vision necessary to see that it is only the praise of the Father than matters – and then to live courageous faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 09/20/12 – The Few, the Brave, the Courageous

DayBreaks for 09/19/12 – The Few, the Brave, the Courageous

Joshua 1:9 – I command you — be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Let’s face it: life isn’t for the weak of heart.  Life is a challenge – far more difficult and hard than we could ever imagine.

We start out as children and life is like a game.  Then, we get a bit older and we find out that we can’t win every game, and that along with the game, come certain expectations and responsibilities.

We become young adults and find someone to love and marry – and for a while, we enjoy this thing called a “honeymoon” period of our relationship where all is peachy, but then we start to discover aspects of this person we married that we don’t care for very much.  And as the pressures of job, children and money mount, we become more disillusioned with this thing called life.

As young and middle-aged adults, we have probably settled into a relatively calm routine…and then we awaken one day to find that the routine is really a rut – a rut we don’t feel we can get out of and the walls start closing in and we feel desperately trapped.  The result: mid-life crises.

As age begins to descend upon us and our health starts to fail, we can get discouraged as we look back at our lives and wonder, “What if?”  We may often ask ourselves the very disturbing question: “Did I misunderstand what God wanted me to do?”  And we realize we don’t have time left to go back and undo what we may have misunderstood, to undertake what we might have been able to do when we were younger.

Life isn’t for the weak of heart.  It takes courage.

“Whatever you do, you need courage.  Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong.  There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right.  To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs.  Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You will face choices today that will take courage because life is like that.  Let the strength of the Lord be your strength, let his courage fill your spirit and may you make the right choices.

PRAYER: Life frightens us at nearly every corner, Lord.  We can’t see past the shadows and often, even though we know what we should do, we lack the courage it takes to win the victory.  Give us your courage today!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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