I've been listening to Courageous by Casting Crowns recently and a few of their other songs. It's struck me how we need to be more courageous in our lives and our duty as Christians to spread His word. Jesus says this to his disciples:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, -Matthew 28:19He never tells us to possibly do it, tells it is something that we could do, nor that it's easy but what He does say is that we should GO and MAKE disciples of all nations. This is my point today, we are always going to be equipped when we face the world, God promises us this, so why are we always so fearful of what's going to happen? I can only say it is because we are all scared of being rejected, we fear not being part of a group, being on the outside, being alone, but what if I were to tell you that all this means nothing when you compare it to the amazing protection, trust and love that God gives you. I can't talk to you like I've got it sorted because I sit there going "I could make a cheesy line about God here" but my own fear of being laughed at or breaking the image people have of me holds me back. I am not comfortable in my identity in Christ yet, there are parts where I can say that's God or He's working in my life here but I am not yet able to make Him my whole identity. Yet what I should be saying is why are not more forward in talking about Jesus, I mean we are constantly asking for prayer to talk to friends about Him and more opportunities to do so and He may give them to us but when the time comes do we act? or are we held back by a fear inside us?
See we can constantly build each other up and say we are doing a good job and all but if our own minds falter at the idea of being rejected in this world then can we say we are no longer of this world. Paul writes to the Romans about the transformation of our minds and how we should no longer be of this world. Jesus even tells us we cannot serve two masters, one, money, is a wonderful example of the material world and the other Him is a representative of God's kingdom, we cannot live in both. I did not intend to sit here talking about our fear and how we are meant to live for God's kingdom, but I must say they are so crucial for what my intention was. That is finding our identity in God so that we may not be afraid of failure.
This world has caused so many of us to define success in terms of popularity, number of friends, likability, wealth, beauty and general material things. Well guess what, God doesn't define failure that way, you fail God when you don't act the way He would and here's a bombshell that's called sinning. Yep, sin is failing God, but do you know what is the most amazing thing about this life we live as Christians, it's that no matter how much we fail a) Jesus has taken it all upon Himself and b) God loves us just the same. Now here is where I have to appeal to any non-christian who might be reading this, please don't turn off as I try to reach you here. God loves you, and I don't mean as a Bro, as a Parent, as a Lover, I mean as a Creator and in all ways possible. Despite how much we attach ourselves to not failing in front of others, He does not care about how much you've failed since He has already sent His Son to die for you and take away that failure from you just so far that you turn away from your failure yourself and accept Him.
Anyway small bit of direct evangelism over, on to the rest of this blog and the continuous indirect evangelism. Our God does not give a cahoots about how much you fail Him now that you have Jesus, in fact despite of however big a pit you dig yourself He shall always have a ladder ready for you to climb back out. The Person we are all so afraid of failing, He doesn't care about it anymore, so just who are we failing and who's standard are we falling short of? As a side note, this does not give us the liberty to sin all the time because we no longer want to sin all the time, you know the old phrase along the lines of "Don't bite the hand that feeds you" that sort of sums it up, except it's not due to Him saving us, it's out of our love for Him.
Back on topic, I can only say it's our own standards we are falling short of. I've decided that failure is one of the more selfish human conditions that exists in our world, this came to me when discussing it with friends. It is us who decided ultimately if we have failed, we set the standards, we set the end goal, we set it in motion, we do everything when we strive for something and fall short. I see some minds saying "But what about your day 1 post talking about having God in everything?" Well here's my answer. If God was the cause of your striving for something, if He was in your mind and soul as you set out, would you care about the end goal, if God has set your goal which you cannot see, how can you fail unless you assume you were meant to go further. God has an ultimate plan for us all so let Him guide you to where you need to be whether it means failing in a material sense.
This is my prayer on failure:
God, I am afraid of failing in this world that I do not belong to. Help me overcome this obstacle that stops me being able to act out for you, let me break free of these chains that prevent me spreading your Gospel. I am searching for a life where I can fully commit to you and follow you, please if it is of Your will then make me someone who can defiantly roar like a lion and stand at the front lines with your armour on. AmenI want to move back to courage because I don't think I tackle that really and it's the part of the title. I don't have a great, big golden rule about how to become instantly great, how to be courageous in one burst, but what I can say is what I think courage is. It is the ability to stand against the tide and to take the full force and walk on. I am not courageous, I cannot stand against the full blow of a tide, I can take it bit by bit and build up against it but that's plain humanity. I know people who are courageous, these are the people who stand out as speaking their mind clearly and not tolerating what is wrong, sometimes even telling me. I am a teaser, a cheeky, intolerable one at that. I have been told by people to stop but it's too much a part of me, the thing is I promised people that I would try to tease people less but I haven't. So if anyone who knows me reads this and sees me teasing someone too much or too harshly, stop me if I don't stop myself. I do calm down around those who have told me to stop but it shouldn't be a special right, it should be applied across the people I know and don't know. This is off topic but I feel it serves as an example of people who have stood up for what is right and not shrunk back, so how does apply to our lives with God? Easily, don't shrink back from opportunities to tell people what is right. You follow/believe in/ have a relationship with a man who, in no uncertain terms, said "I AM the way, the truth and the life" and you are worried people will take offence at that. Damn right they will! You've just told them there is a better way to live life, there is something more important to our lives than ourselves, that they aren't living life. Guess what though, we weren't told to be mice, we are, in the Father's eyes, comparable to a man who calmed storms, terrified demons and caused the greatest revolution in human history. So should we be afraid of what the broken and fallen think of us, or of what God thinks of us. I would go with the latter. Be confident in your identity in Christ and the power that He gives us and don't fear failing in man's eyes because God loves you.
Lord, thank you that you clothe me in your righteousness. Thank you for equipping me to battle each day and sit in your arms throughout the storm. I pray that I do not sit idly knowing your grace and comfort but I can step out and take hold of the opportunities you place in front of me. Don't let fear grasp my heart, derail Satan and his plans and be my shield in a fallen world. Let my knowledge of you and your promises be the foundations for my courage and the strength behind my actions. AmenJoshua 1:9