At the beginning of every football game, the ball is kicked to the opposing team and 22 players sprint at each other with one goal in mind. Destroy someone! Some of the men on the field weigh around 300 lbs and can run a 40 in less than 5 seconds. To be one of those players you would have to be totally insane or have reckless courage.
This last week, I have been reading through the book of Acts. I got to the story of Stephen. He stands trial for preaching Jesus to the Jews. These men who killed Jesus now have Stephen in their grips. So he does the unthinkable. He tells these religious men that for thousands of years religious leaders like them have killed God’s chosen people. Then to get even more personal he says:
Acts 7:51 “You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you! 52 Name one prophet your ancestors didn’t persecute! They even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One—the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered. 53 You deliberately disobeyed God’s law, even though you received it from the hands of angels.”
These are religious fighting words. Stephen has just picked a fight. So they grab him and they take him to be stoned. This is when they take rocks and throw them at him until he dies. Just as he is about to die he says”
59 “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” And with that, he died.
Stephen loved Jesus more than he loved his life. His courage to stand for his faith to those who opposed it stirs my heart. He did not spend his days wrestling with basics of faith like serving, tithing, and choosing between the lake and church. He spent his days so other people would know Jesus no matter the cost.
I want this kind of courage! The courage it takes to know my life is on the line and I boldly spend my life preaching Jesus no matter the consequences.
So where do you need courage? Are you asking for courage for things Jesus wants you to have courage for? Jesus followers always have one thing in common… Reckless courage! I pray we live it.
Recklessly, obsessively following Jesus