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 (Philippians 1:20).
The word that strikes me in this verse is courage. The walk of faith is not for the faint of heart. If I want my life to exalt Christ, it will take courage.
And I have so stinking little.
A while back, I encountered a man who was perhaps not entirely psycho-emotionally stable. Here’s the situation: I was sitting in a coffee shop (back when you could just sit in a coffee shop), working on my One-a-Days. This man was at a table right in the middle of the room. He sat alone, speaking at full volume, sort of streaming consciousness to the world at large. He waxed eloquent on politics and science and space aliens and economics and religion and space aliens. Conspiracy theories abounded, and though distracting, it was all quite entertaining.
Some of what he was saying was a blatant denial of Christ.
And he was saying it to a room full of people.
I knew I should talk to him, I felt the nudge to engage, but for the longest time I just sat and tried to ignore him.
While I typed a devotion on preaching Christ.
Why did I dread the thought of going over there? I mean, I’m a pretty talkative dude, and this guy didn’t seem violent, just….crazy.
It’s hard to articulate, but it comes down to fear. Fear of being uncomfortable, fear of looking silly in front of the other customers, fear of being identified with Captain Disturbo, fear that I might not be able to answer his arguments effectively, and might end up doing more harm than good.
Eventually, I went over and engaged the man in gentle debate—if I hadn’t, I doubt that I would be sharing this story with you. Nothing dramatic happened. There were no lightning bolts, no angelic choirs. He didn’t break into tears and confess his sins, but he didn’t shiv me, either. I didn’t change his mind, but I stood my ground.
Take those minor victories where you can get them, Beloved.
Pray for me, and I will pray for you, that today we will have the courage to exalt the One who loves us.
Be not ashamed, Beloved.