1 Thessalonians 2
1 For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. 2 But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict…
If you have a longing to be an influence for Christ and His kingdom, then what is required for YOU and for ME is a tenacity, a boldness, a life that takes little and BIG steps of COURAGE.
Courageous living, courageous giving, courageous sacrificing — doing what needs to be done even when you were afraid – all sounds good in theory!
But in reality – living a courageous life is COSTLY. Living a courageous life – FORCES us to FACE the deepest obstacles in our lives – specifically: The opinions of others and our own comforts and security.
Can you imagine – just for a minute… being freed from the CONSTANT PRESSURE of trying to impress others???
Can you imagine – having something so important that you would be willing to risk your comfort and security to achieve that goal? The truth for MOST of us is that anything that threatens our comfort or security becomes unthinkable to us.
If you were to read all of 1 Thessalonians 2, you would discover that Paul’s AIM in life was not to maximize HIS COMFORT, but to maximize THE CALLING God had put on His life.
LET ME SUGGEST — Three simple ways to begin to form the courage in our lives to actually “GO” into “the world” and do the things God has called us to do and entrusted us to do – even when it’s hard and when we’re afraid…
1) Pick “A” Fight, not “EVERY” Fight
The Big Mission in life is Jesus’ mission. But He has A PART for everyone one of us to play. If we spent less time comparing “our mission” to the couple/friend/church down the street – I’m convinced we would live with more courage in the battles that are demanding our attention.
2) Think STEPS, not LEAPS
Living a courageous life is not a 100m SPRINT, it’s a 100 MILE Run through the Rocky Mountains. Some of us (meaning ME) need to take the PRESSURE off and LOVE the very people and situations in which God has placed us in (look at Paul’s exact words in 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8)!! Courageous living is not only for the “heroic” moments of life. It’s for the daily moments where we simply need to do the right thing even when it’s hard, when it’s inconvenient, when we’re afraid, and when no one else is watching!
There is an East African saying that essentially means – there are SOME THINGS that are so worthwhile AND so impossible to DO ALONE that they require us “PULLING TOGETHER” // “WORKING TOGETHER”.
What’s this look like in the REAL WORLD???
This means that you and I – pick a BATTLE, that we focus our energy, our love, our courageous living on a group of PEOPLE whom we can love not through heroic leaps but through faithful steps, and that we pick a small COALITION of others who will GO with us and do the right thing — EVEN WHEN IT’S HARD!
Imagine our families, our marriages, and our church communities being the kind of environments where we’re known for our courageous living – doing the right thing, the obedient thing – even when it’s hard!