Am I Brave Enough?
We must obey God rather than men. Acts 5:29
I often need to know if I’m tough or brave enough to do a thing. Once, when at a conference where a vendor was promoting Tasers, I asked the sales representative if he would Taser me. I just needed to know how it felt and if I was tough enough to stand up to it. He complied and I discovered that I could not remain standing. I whimpered like a baby, but looking back, I’d do it again. I just needed to know.
In reading today’s passage, I had a similar thought. In the story, some of the apostles were on trial for spreading the gospel of Christ. They’d been arrested, threatened, and this time beaten for their faith, yet they remained steadfast in their commitment to follow God rather than men.
So, the question occurred to me, What would I do under the same circumstances? Would I be brave enough to face arrest and physical injury? Would I be bold enough to defy the authorities for my faith? If our country became overtly hostile to my beliefs, would I obey God rather than men?
I may or may not ever have to make that choice. Right now, it’s a hypothetical question. I can blog freely about my faith and recovery without any legal objection. That doesn’t mean the passage has no application for me though. The real question isn’t about defying the government to share my faith. The real question is, Who or what am I living for today?
I may boldly claim that I’d stand up to any institution that opposed my faith, even under threat of persecution. The question again though is, Am I living for God right now? Do I live every day to follow God, or am I simply living for myself? I doubt if I’d be bold enough to share my faith with my neighbor under a totalitarian secular government if I’m not willing to share my faith with my neighbor right now.
I don’t have to face the persecution to be bold. Courage may simply be doing whatever it takes to abandon the old life for the new one. In my addiction, boldness meant going to treatment and changing my life. I don’t need to wait for persecution to be obedient to God. Today, I can practice strength and courage, living for God, rather than myself.