Courage

Yesterday, I watched a woman in a video describe how an angry mob attacked a bus she was in that was trying to rescue modern-day slaves somewhere in India.

She said the people in the bus prayed and then, amazingly, God seemed to sow confusion among the attackers and they allowed the bus to go.

I was struck by the courage of the woman from the International Justice Mission and her colleagues who are ready to put their lives on the line in order to free people who are literally slaves in today’s world.

Not for the first time, I asked myself whether I have that kind of courage.

More likely than not, we comfortable Christians in the West would likely say: “No, I am not courageous.”

I am not so sure.  It all depends on whether we rely on our own bravery – or on God.

The apostle Peter was sure he would stand up for Jesus if Jesus were ever attacked.  But he denied Jesus when people accused him of being Jesus’ follower.

Yet only a short time later, Peter was boldly preaching the gospel publicly and defying the authorities who jailed him.

Of course, the difference was what happened between the two events – the resurrection of Christ and the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus told his disciples:

“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say,   for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” (Luke 12:11-12)

Naturally, that means I need to rely on the Spirit when I am under attack.

It also means that I must not value my own life and reputation above God and what he has called me to do.  That is one of the hardest things a human being can do – surrender his hold on life and give it to God to use as he wishes.

But that is what makes people like the woman at the International Justice Mission so powerful.  That is how God moves through people like that.

I realize that in my own life, I so often fail to stand up for what I believe.  But God is patient with me – and with others like me.

He is nudging me along his path, teaching me that courage comes from him.

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