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Series: Refining Faith
This Week: Courage Under Fire
THURSDAY — Are you “all-in”?
Big Point: The more “all-in” we are in our faith, the more courageous we will be.
John the Baptist was an all-in kind of guy. There’s no getting around it—he was unique. John the Baptist wore odd clothes and ate strange foods and he lived and breathed to preach an unusual message. He was not unique for uniqueness sake. Instead, his priority was obedience and John knew he had a specific role to play in the world: to announce the coming Savior.
This wild-looking man had no power or position in the Jewish political system, but he spoke with an irresistible authority. People were moved by his words because he spoke the truth, challenging them to turn from their sins and baptizing them as a symbol of their repentance. Those words of truth moved many to repentance and others to resentment. John even challenged a king to admit his sin. The king’s wife—his illegal wife—arranged to have John the Baptist killed and had his head displayed on a platter, but not even she could stop his message.
Being all-in for your faith can’t happen without courage of conviction. Being an all-in Christian takes guts and the decision to live out your faith for God, no matter the cost. (excerpts from NLT Study Bible)
READ…What does the Bible say?
John 3:30 (New Living Translation)
He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.
About John 3:30… Being courageous for the sake of Christ does
take guts, but our courageous deeds mean nothing if we are trying
to do it on our own strength or for our own satisfaction.
Jeremiah 20:11 (New Living Translation)
But the LORD stands beside me like a great warrior. Before him my persecutors will stumble. They cannot defeat me. They will fail and be thoroughly humiliated. Their dishonor will never be forgotten.
Matthew 5:11-12 (New Living Translation)
11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
THINK…Find the answers
Read John 3:30. How does this verse paint a picture of what it looks like to be an “all-in” Christ-follower?
Jeremiah 20:11 reflects the confident words of someone who knows God will come through even though persecution is all around. Matthew 5:11-12 tell us how to react when others make our life difficult because of our faith. What is the big picture that both verses encourage us to remember?
LIVE…What will you do now?
Reflect on John 3:30. Can you describe any changes in your attitude, beliefs or character that demonstrates that Jesus is becoming greater in your life? List one thing that you think you should work on so that Jesus is reflected more in your life.
If you have ever been persecuted for your faith—no matter to what degree—it’s tough! How have you handled the jabs you have taken for being a Christ-follower? How do you know when you are handling persecution in a way that honors God versus a response that isn’t? (If you have never been persecuted for being a Christian, how do you feel about that?)
List a couple ways that being hassled or teased about being a Christ-follower has strengthened your faith:
PRAY…God, what do you want me to know & do?
The path to becoming more courageous travels through hostile territory. The ability to travel that road requires less of us (our effort) and more of Christ (his strength). This is a great time for you to talk with God about where you are at when it comes to being “all-in” and how you can courageously live out your faith.
DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: 2 Samuel 5-9
5:19 and 5:23 Asking for God’s guidance is how David enjoyed success. God does provide different strategies for success at different times, even though in our eyes the situation looks similar.
6:3 This time David failed to consult God before he moved the Ark.
6:9 “David was afraid of the Lord that day…” A hard lesson about the infinite holiness of God and the necessity of obeying His words completely.
6:13 This time David had the right instructions.
6:16 David’s love for God was unreserved. Hence his unusual worship was offensive to some, but he did not care.
7:1-17 God makes a covenant with David.
7:16 “… your kingdom shall be established forever…” Jesus ultimately fulfilled this promise as the “Son of David” who rules forever.
7:21 God’s loving character will always honor and keep His Word.
7:29 David understood that by praying according to God’s promise, he aligned himself with God’s will. We can too. Ch. 8 David makes further conquests and consolidates his kingdom.
8:6 “the Lord preserved David wherever he went” Make God your delight, as David did, and enjoy the same blessings.
9:7 David made a promise to Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20:14-17. He was now fulfilling it.
9:3 Mephiboseth’s feet were crippled. We are not sure about the deformity, but in the ancient Near East, crippled, handicapped and other persons with physical and mental disabilities would end up as beggars.