What does it mean to risk everything, believe everything about Jesus? A question and thought that I have pondered at length upon recently. What does it mean to you? And certainly what does it mean to me?
Would you and I be absolutely sure we could risk everything, our reputation, our comfort, laying it all on the line for Jesus – holding nothing back – Nothing! – makes you wonder eh?
It’s that very moment when our fear is overcome by our faith, that moment when we, often in a fraction of second have to decide are we willing to risk everything and everyone for Jesus.
Wherever and however it happens for you depends entirely on your own set of circumstances – maybe at a gathering when you are called upon to ‘make a stand’, when your whole Christian faith is put on the line.
When you are maybe friendless and on your own away from any Christian reinforcement or backing . When you realise that your faith isn’t just a belief IN Jesus, but actually your faith is founded entirely in a strong belief in what He said and did.
It’s at that moment when your faith is at the crossroads – do you truly believe the words of Jesus and allow them to transform your life and speak out for Him, being prepared to lay it all on the line for Him?
Jesus didn’t come to earth that we could ‘escape’ into our own little igloo of safety. No, God makes us all warriors for Him – He tells us so in Ephesians when we need to put on the whole armour He gives us to counteract the firey darts of Satan. The darts of self-doubt and fear are just two the self-destroying arrows that can wither up our faith in the face of persecution and ridicule.
The very thing that Satan sends to destroy us can be the very things that exists in our every-day lives, our self-respect and reputation.
But once we are aware and our belief in how Jesus actually lived and we embrace Him and His example fully into our lives then Satan’s greatest attack can become our faith’s greatest advantage.
Once we have truly grasped, through God’s amazing grace, and shape our lives around the very truth of Jesus, then our faith explodes in us like a tornado and fear really has no part at all within us.
Paul himself experienced that explosion of faith over fear when he had the Damascus road incident that changed his life forever.
Reading in 1 Corinthians chapter 4, Paul recounts just a few of his experiences where his fear has been overcome by faith – he says that he has ‘become a spectacle to the world’ more or less like a show in some amphitheatre. He continues when he says “we are looked upon as fools on account of Christ and for His sake.”
Paul understood entirely what lay before him – he would be looked down on. His reputation and well-being was certainly on the line and yet he believed entirely what Jesus said and the example that Jesus left us. To count this life as nothing compared to what is ahead of us.
No one said pursuing our calling and walking with Jesus would be easy. Not one time has God promised us an easy ride though our walk with Him. We are called to stand up for Jesus no matter the cost to us personally.
So where does that leave us in this world when we are told over and over again “Don’t say anything about Jesus – you may offend someone” – Our answer should be “stand and be heard in the name of Jesus – don’t let anything silence you”
We mustn’t be and we can’t be intimidated by evil in any guise. We are swamped with ‘political correctness’ in today’s world but we can’t be thwarted by this or any other disguise that is thrown our way.
We must stand up for Jesus – even in the small things – maybe even in the saying of grace before a meal, the mentioning of Jesus and what He has done for us at every opportunity and letting people know that God is alive and loves them.
In Jesus we should and can and must be bold and unafraid – that is exactly what He needs from us – we need to proclaim the truth of Jesus everywhere and every way we can. Proverbs 28:1 says “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion”
I was reading recently of the story behind the hymn “Stand up for Jesus” which was written by George Duffield in 1858.
Shortly after preaching at a hugely successful mission in Philadelphia, the evangelist and abolitionist Dudley Atkins Tyng visited a barn on his farm. Stretching out his hand to pat a mule that was working a machine shelling corn, his sleeve caught in the cogs and tore off his arm.
Hours later he was discovered, slowly bleeding to death. In his last moments, he whispered to George Duffield “Tell them to stand up for Jesus.”
You know the message hasn’t changed for us – we need to stand up for Jesus no matter the cost, be it our reputation, our job, even maybe our family.
This is something that I have personally been convicted about so much recently. How am I at REALLY standing up for Jesus. Am I prepared to give everything for Him? Are you?
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