02 January 2012

Don't shrink back

Learning about apologetics may be one of my favorite past-times. Notice I said reading, not practicing. I have studied the Bible diligently. I know the philosophical arguments for the the existence of God. I see the gaping holes in scientific naturalism. I have amassed a large amount of knowledge, but I rarely share it with non-believers. I suppose that fear of man must play prominently in my hesitation, or a concern that I have not yet learned enough, or general laziness.

As I was reading this morning, I came upon Numbers 13 where the Lord tells Moses to go into Canaan to spy out the land. Upon their return from this land "flowing with milk and honey", Caleb said "let us go up at once and occupy it for we are well able to overcome it" (Num 13:30). Caleb understood the promises of God and had confidence in the plan. Those who accompanied him, however, were unsure. Numbers 13:31 reads, "Then the men who had gone up with him said, 'We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.'"

How often do you feel that way? You find solace in God's word and comfort in a community of believers, yet when you think about moving out of a culture of churchianity (to borrow a phrase from Michael Spencer), you lose your nerve. You begin to think "I am not able to go up against these non-believers for they are stronger than I am."

Pray for boldness and the confidence that only God can provide. He will go with us. His reward to the faithful will endure. Hebrews 10:32-35 reads, "But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward."

When you read these words, what effect do they have? Are you able to envision having an enduring joy even when people are stealing your possessions, damaging your home, or threatening your safety? What about if they simply don't like you? Can you honestly say, with the writer of Hebrews, that your possession is a better one, that Christ is your great reward and that everything else pales in comparison to the surpassing joy of knowing him?

Psalm 135:13-14 says,    
Your name, O LORD, endures forever,
        your renown, O LORD, throughout all ages.
For the LORD will vindicate his people
        and have compassion on his servants.

We are his people and he promises to have compassion on us. He will soothe our fears, strengthen our resolve, and go with us as we bring his word to a world in need of a savior.

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