Freitag, 21. September 2018

The importance of courage

Courage and bravery are amongst the most characteristic male virtues. World history is like a big gallery of fearless man. Even if thousands of years haves pasted since their death, we still admire them. They even became archetypes in our entertainment industry. Take any war movie. The protagonist is very likely to be brave. Yet, courage in a Christian sense is of a different kind. This courage doesn’t mean opposing a gigantic force of enemies and to fight till your death. God wants from us a more difficult kind of courage. Because it requires that we give up control of our lives.

“A world-famous acrobat secured a cable across the Niagara River Gorge. This gorge is very wide and deep. A rough river rushes through the canyon several hundred feet below. A large crowd gathered to see this famous tightrope walker cross the Niagara Gorge by walking on this cable. First, the acrobat stood on the cable, facing the crowd, and shouted, “Who believes that I can walk across this gorge on this cable and return?” The crowd knew that he was a famous tightrope walker, and they called back that they believed he could. When the acrobat returned, he threw down his balance rod, had a wheelbarrow lifted up onto the cable and called to the crowd, “Who believes that I can walk across this cable and back pushing this wheelbarrow?” The crowd again expressed their belief in him. When he returned, the acrobat said, “Who believes that I can walk across this cable pushing my wheelbarrow with a person in it?” Many waved their hands and shouted that they “believed.” “Okay,” said the acrobat to a “believing” man in the front, “you…into the wheelbarrow!” The man stood motionless in shocked silence. He then refused to step into the wheelbarrow.”(Beeke, Bible doctrine for older children, p.134)

True believing isn’t about praying daily. Indeed, true faith is about trusting Christ and trusting his forgiveness of your sins. It’s easy to say that you believe, but a completely different thing to do it. This is the base of our relationship with God. He wants us to climb into his wheelbarrow, without any sign of hesitation. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5) This the kind of courage God demands from us. When we do the most Christian thing in any situation, we can expect the help of God. Even if we no longer live in arm-length of death, we still experience fear. Fear, that disturbs us from accomplishing true faith. What do we fear? Humans can fear many things, but most fears are rather harmless. Do you fear ridiculing yourself in front of people? In which way this fear can disturb our relationship with God? When I was a teenager, I refused to wear a cross. I feared the looks from my friends and even teachers. Like Peter I neglected in a way Jesus Christ. I realized that I don’t have a reason to be afraid. I learned an important technique, that I still use to end my useless fears. It’s called “framing” and many professional athletes use it to drop stress. When a professional sprinter is nervous before an important race he asks himself: “What is the worst thing that could happen now?” The answer is “Losing a race.” He then would conclude, that this is a very weak reason to be nervous and he can concentrate on the important thing: winning the race. Knowing this strategy, I began to answer myself: “My friends could laugh at me.” Is that bad? Isn’t the recognition from God a far higher price? Likewise, when you experience fear, don’t overreact. Instead ask yourself, how you could act in God’s will.

I know that this isn’t a simple task, because often fear isn’t the only factor that is in our way to the heavenly kingdom. In most cases, you are your biggest obstacle. That’s why you must give up control. Don’t rely on yourself. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Romans 11:33) Complete trust is difficult, that’s why you must surrender completely to the LORD. Pray when bad things happen, pray when good things happen. Both are important. We give God the keys to our lives, but that doesn’t mean we have to be completely passive. In fact, God gave us the Ten Commandments as a form of concession from us and building a fundamental relationship with God. “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22) Fleeing evil, trusting God, these are the virtues of a Christian man. You have the choice. Making the right choice is responding to your call of a godly man.

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