1 Corinthians 16:13; Hebrews 10:35-36
We’ve been talking about the need in our day for a courage transfusion. Drawing from 1 Corinthians 16:13, we’ve looked at three important commands: Stay alert! Stand alone! Grow up!
Now the last command won’t surprise you at all; you’re all ready for it: Get tough! I didn’t say “mean,” I said “tough.” Look at the way it reads: “Be strong.”
Have you ever played for a coach who wasn’t tough? If so, guess what you did all season—lose! Great coaches are tough-minded; they attract people who do their best for them. Winning requires being tough!
If you’re a preacher and you speak week after week, preach what needs to be said, not what others want you to say. You preach it until the day you die. Stand firm, even if they don’t want to hear it and finally run you off. That’s your calling. If you’re a counsellor, tell the truth to people you counsel, even when they don’t want to hear it. Truth sets people free.
Suppose a friend says to you, “You know, I have to admit, things aren’t great between Bob and me at home. Our marriage isn’t going anywhere. And so, wouldn’t you know it, I met this guy at the gym. Boy, he is terrific. He’s more my type. Matter of fact, we’re going out to dinner tomorrow night.” She thinks she’s solving her problem, but you know better. She needs tough love.
Put your arm around her and say, “That’s the worst thing you could possibly do. What you’re getting into will only multiply your difficulties at home.”
If you’re a counsellor and you have a counselee who comes in whining over something that’s really sinful, don’t shrug it off and say, “Oh that’s OK. I understand. Those things happen. I’ll pray that things work out.” No. It’s time to speak up. Tell the person to stop and help him know how. Tough talk works!
Sinning brings bondage. Caring enough to confront and speak truth will set people free. We’re all freer as a result of hearing truth from the Scriptures. You’re not deeper into your problems, wondering how you’ll ever get out of this mess you made. God’s Word is a lamp. Finally, you can see some light.
We’re living in a world of people so twisted they make you think perversion is right. And if you don’t think perversion is right, you’re wrong. That’s madness! The Bible calls it confusion. Call it that. I don’t care if you’re the only one thinking like that. It’s part of doing what’s right. Getting tough begins with being tough on yourself.
I was digging around a dusty old bookstore several years ago, and I came across a little volume on the life of the great composer Ludwig van Beethoven. He was some kind of man. He composed some of his greatest musical works after he lost his hearing. He ultimately went stone deaf. As the thickness was drawing a veil over his auditory nerves, he had to rely more and more on the feelings in his fingers. At times he would even rest his forehead on the piano to hear the vibrations of what was being played. At one time, in a frustrated moment, he slammed both fists on the keyboard and shouted, “I will take life by the throat!”
What great advice for life. Take it by the throat. Stay alert! Stand alone! Grow up! Get tough!
That’s what we have to do both as Christians and as Americans. Now is the time for a courage transfusion. We have to be alert against the enemy. We have to stand alone against evil, even if others choose not to. We have to grow up as a nation—stand tall and act like men and women. And we have to be tough—not mean, not responding with evil for evil—but tough.
Meeting the challenge. Taking life by the throat. Standing up. Standing tall. Standing firm. Standing together.
Excerpted from Why God? Calming Words for Chaotic Times, Copyright 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by Permission.
About the Author:
Chuck Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God’s Word. Active as the senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Texas, Chuck’s trademark humour, integrity, and authenticity have made him one of this century’s most beloved and trusted preachers. His international radio program Insight for Living has aired for more than 35 years. Want Chuck Swindoll’s insights delivered to your inbox seven days a week? Claim your free subscription to Insight for Today.