In Search of Christian Vertebrates
by Bill Muehlenberg
Talk about an endangered species: it is getting harder and harder nowadays to find believers with a bit of backbone. One fears they may soon become extinct altogether. Sure, the churches are filled today with hordes of Christian invertebrates – they are a dime a dozen. But that is not what we need right now.
In these trying times we are in desperate need of Christian men and women who have spines of steel to withstand all that’s going down around us. But they are hard to find, that’s for sure. We have plenty of pew warmers who will never rock the boat, cause a ripple, or dare to offend.
Why is that? Fear is a big part of this – fear of man especially. Of course we are warned quite often in Scripture about fear. We are told “fear not” over and over again, and we are specifically told in Proverbs 25:29 that the “fear of man brings a snare”.
Yet while so many of us are paralysed with the fear of man, so very few of us have the antidote: the fear of God. Instead of worrying about offending the holy and living God, we fear offending mere men. We are servants and slaves to men instead of servants and slaves of Christ.
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So we fear the wrong things, and lack a vital trait for our day and age: courage. Courageous Christians are hard to find, while spineless, wimpy evangellyfish seem to abound. Where are the believers with courage and backbone today? Why do so many lack the courage of their convictions, and wimp out at every opportunity to stand up for Jesus?
And this is no inconsequential thing. Not only does it mean we are not being the witness for Jesus that we are meant to be, but we are actually sinning against the Lord. A lack of courage is sinful? You bet it is. Simply go to Revelation 21:8 where we find a list of those cast out and judged by Almighty God. Guess who lead the list? Yep, the cowardly.
But there is simply no excuse for such cowardice and lack of intestinal fortitude. Sure, in ourselves we have nothing. But we were never meant to go out in our own strength and fight God’s battles. We are meant to go out in his strength and fight his battles with his weapons in his way.
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