Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Courageous Christians

Chuckle:  Counterfeiters (kown'-ter-fit'-ers):  Workers who put together kitchen cabinets
Quote:  "Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality." --C.S. Lewis Quoted Cyril Connolly
    "Be on guard.  Stand true to what you believe.  Be courageous.  Be strong.  And everything you do must be done with love" (1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT).
The Dictionary defines courage as "being able to control one's fear and so to face danger, pain, or trouble willingly; bravery."  Here, Paul encourages the Corinthians to be alert and on guard against spiritual adversaries and the danger they represent.  He reminds them to stand firm in their faith and to be courageous and strong and to show kindness and love in all their interpersonal relationships.  These words of encouragement are badly needed by Christians today.
It seems that every day brings another threat to our peace of mind and sense of well-being.  If it isn't international terror, it's domestic crime in the form of identity theft, car-jacking, home invasions, and assorted other dangers that threaten us.  Add to these the fear associated with the onset of a serious life-threatening illness and facing the reality of our own mortality.  These and other threats to our peace and happiness give us plenty of reasons to be fearful, and courage is required in dealing with them. 
As Christians, another great fear can come from the growing opposition to Christianity and the erosion of religious freedoms both here in our beloved country as well as abroad.  In our passage, the apostle Paul instructs us to be a people of great courage and strength.  The ideal for Christians, when it comes to courage, includes a quality of life based on our faith in the ever-present Spirit of Jesus Christ.  Here there is no "grin and bear it" helpless attitude, but a more natural and proactive one which can see opportunity in every challenge and victory in every instance of opposition or persecution.
Courage is not only a duty for Christians but also a constant possibility because we have placed our lives in the almighty hands of God.  It makes itself evident through patient endurance, moral consistency, infectious optimism and spiritual fidelity.  "If God is for us, who can be against us?"  (Romans 8:32 NIV). 
Love, Jerry & Dotse