Rekindle My Courage (Lent 26, 2016)

Thought 26Let’s turn now to rekindling our courage.  We need to have sufficient courage to face each day.  And I don’t know about you, but sometimes courage is pretty hard to find, especially when the obstacles seem awfully big.

Philippians 1:15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. 18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. 27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel 28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved– and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him 30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

In the Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion has a monologue about courage:

Cowardly Lion: Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?

Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman: Courage.

Cowardly Lion: You can say that again!

It’s easy to have our courage fail. When the Wizard of Oz says that the Cowardly Lion is a victim of disorganized thinking, that the lion is confusing wisdom with courage, the Wizard is actually saying something pretty profound.

Courage without wisdom is genuinely foolish. It’s putting yourself at risk for no apparent reason and for no real gain.

True courage, however, is standing firm—in full awareness—and standing firm because it is right and because you must. In our day of political correctness, many of us shrink from the public square. We don’t talk about Jesus because He’s so 1st century and religion and politics of our modern era don’t mix. Hogwash.

I submit to you that we shrink back because we’re scared.

We know what we should do and what is right, but we’re too afraid of being notorious or labeled a whacko, a religious nut. So we shut up. We go off to our little Bible studies and our Christian coffee klatches to huddle for sympathy, but we do not stand firm out where it really matters. Out where it witnesses!

Lord, rekindle our courage!

Give it up for Lent: Shrinking from speaking up for Jesus

Questions regarding Philippians 1: 15-30:

  1. How does Paul describe courage? (vv. 20-21)
  2. What does Paul expect of his fellow believers? (vv. 27-30)
  3. What areas of your life need a little rekindled courage?

ReKindle My CourageReKindle is the 2016 Lenten devotional series from Seminary Gal.

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Acknowledging that former years’ devotional series remain popular, Be Still and Know that I AM God can be obtained through the archives beginning in March 2014 and With Christ in the Upper Room  is archived beginning February 18, 2015.



Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on March 10, 2016

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