Gifts
If Your Gift is Teaching
The Desires of Your Heart

The Courage of Love

Heroes“The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”

-John 10:17–18

I have always been in awe of those who would put themselves in harm’s way in order to help others: soldiers, firefighters, police, doctors, nurses, EMTs, prisoners of war, mothers, fathers… I never thought that I had it in me, and gratefully, I’ve never been truly tested. Perhaps that’s why I admire those who make a conscious choice to run towards danger instead of away from it – heroes.

Heroes are often modest. They say things like, “I’m not a hero, but I served with some.” But I say that if you push yourself forward willingly, knowing the risk, feeling the fear, but doing it anyway, you are a hero. That takes real courage. It takes real, agape love.

Jesus is an awesome, worthy hero. He knew His mission. It was a hard mission full of persecution and risks  and sacrifice. He struggled with it sometimes, and asked God to change the plans. But when the final order came down, He followed it. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

Laying aside your hopes and dreams and humbly serving others, even at the sacrifice of your own health, your family, even your life, takes real, sacrificial love. And love was the heart of Jesus’ obedience to His mission. If we want to live courageous lives of faith, we’ll need to love more. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Ephesians 5:2

And the Church is in desperate need of heroes today. Who will willingly put themselves into the national discourse, go on social media, knock on doors, hand out tracts, or talk to family or neighbors about the loving grace of Jesus, knowing there will be persecution, criticism, anger, even retaliation? You will need a lot of love to overcome the fear. You will need a lot of courage to go against cultural norms and societal expectations. I’m not talking about preaching morality here. I’m talking about living out your faith and engaging people in a deeply personal discussion of life, the universe and everything – and of the sin that is plaguing them, leaving their lives unfulfilled.

We Christians know that there is a war being waged between Good and evil by powerful forces in the spiritual world. Our human condition and unchecked sin are just byproducts of that fearsome struggle. The anger, stress, violence and unkind acts that make our daily headlines are just evidence of the need for more love, more Jesus and more God. God IS love. And Jesus is our example of ultimate human love that lays aside itself entirely to bring about the good of others.

One little candle can light a room, and one Christian filled with love for others can ease the pain and darkness of sin. We all have the power to set hearts on fire for Jesus. It’s the Holy Spirit that does that work, but God will send them to us to hear the Good News. We can be an attractive aroma of sacrifice. We can have the courage of our convictions. We can be heroes.

PRAYER: Lord, help us to see the unsaved people in our world as brothers and sisters who are perishing and in desperate need of rescue. Give us the courage to throw the lifeline of Jesus’ grace and mercy to them. Help us not to be offended but fill us with overflowing love to minister to them even in the face of rejection – until all who will believe are gathered in. Lay Your almighty hand of protection on all of those first responders, security personnel, missionaries and everyday heroes who put the saving of others before their own needs. And let me be one of them. Amen.

Blessings of Courage,

Jen

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