How are we to be “strong and courageous”?

Socrates in the City

The other day I was listening to Socrates in the City with Eric Metaxas. He was interviewing Eugenia Constantinou and I couldn’t stop thinking about the implications of what was teased out. At one point in the interview, Constantinou was explaining what happened during the trial and subsequent crucifixion of Christ. During this moment in Jewish history, there was a cultural elite that controlled pretty much everything. They enjoyed their status, their wealth, and most importantly, their power. The majority of people, however, lived in poverty and suffered greatly. And it mattered little to not at all to the elites (the parallels to our current cultural moment was not lost on Metaxas).

Jesus threatened the status quo. The elites knew they had to take Jesus out if they were to maintain what they had so carefully built. And so they schemed and debated how best to do just that. They used the Romans who were in authority over the area (although technically they did not have authority over their religious practices) to execute their plans.

Pontius Pilate wanted to give Jesus up. He clearly knew that he wasn’t guilty. But the Jewish elites were able to trap him into submitting to their will. Pilate hesitated, but ultimately gave in since he knew that it would be his own life he would potentially forfeit.

Poor Pilate?

All that being said, I started to think about how I felt sort of bad for Pilate. He was essentially bullied into killing Jesus. He didn’t want anything to do with His crucifixion, but he was compelled to obey the mob and listen to the threats of the cultural elites. I mean, given the situation, how can we blame him for his decision?


…the cowardly

And then I started to think about what the LORD has said in His Word: “… But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (Rev. 21:8).

and then there was “Johnny Mac”

That brought me to think about John MacArthur. He had been interviewed recently on the Give Me Liberty podcast because of a documentary that is coming out about his church, along with two other churches in Canada. To make a long story short, he infamously defied the California governor, Gavin Newsom, and chose to keep the doors of his church open during the confusing time of C0VID.

Grace Church, the church MacArthur leads, ended up suing the state for the unjustified orders handed down by the governor. Miraculously, not only did they win their freedom from the tyrannical edicts of the State, they were vindicated. The church threatened to go to trial, and depose the governor as well as the medical community to expose what had happened during the C0VID lockdown. Within 24 hours, the State contacted Grace Church to settle the matter (make of that what you will). California now can never tell Grace Church to shut down and they had to pay them over $3.5 million for legal fees.

God is faithful!

I can’t get over the faithfulness of God! Despite the pressure surrounding him by other church leaders as well as the State, MacArthur refused to consent to the restrictions imposed for this simple reason – the government had no jurisdiction in the House of God. At the time, this was an extremely controversial stand to take. It took tremendous courage to stand against what the great majority consented to (or minimally went along with despite some apprehensions). But MacArthur stood firm, in order to be faithful to God’s Word (Heb 10:25).

So many churches… too many

As I’ve already mentioned, many, if not most, churches across the US closed their doors, submitting to government orders to stop gathering. To people all around the country, this seemed to make sense – we all wanted to protect each other, especially the vulnerable. It was a difficult time to find and understand the truth, considering the generally accepted (and media pushed) tidal wave of prevailing narratives and recommendations about the virus. Obviously, the C0VID pandemic was a time of unprecedented uncertainty. As I’m sure we can all remember, the media counted cases and hospitalizations. Every sneeze or cough made us question whether or not we contracted the virus.

Therefore, many well intentioned pastors chose to concede to the emergency mandates. Even those with larger platforms (such as for example Andy Stanley), made compelling arguments for staying home – essentially, the church still remained active, although no one was actually meeting together.

I think many of these well-meaning pastors forgot to re-read Heb 10:25.

Courageous and faithful

My point in bringing all of this up is that we are called to be courageous and faithful (Deut. 31:26). It’s incredible to see what the LORD did for Grace Church! Their courage under fire was exemplary and is inspiring.

Of course, we now have the advantage of looking back on the situation (i.e. hindsight is 20/20!). Everything is much clearer now. I’m certain most of us would have made a lot of different choices knowing what we do now.

And of course, we can all make mistakes, just like Peter did. He acted in fear and showed himself to be faithless. Just like Peter, we all are shortsighted at times and can allow our lack of faith (which frequently manifests itself in fear), to take over our better judgment. But just as Peter did, I pray we not only learn from past mistakes but repent of our unfaithfulness and move forward with a renewed courage to trust in God.

Hard, but worth it!

LORD, make us a people of courage! It is so, so hard to do in the moment. I think we can all relate. Not one of us has been completely faithful. We all fear at one point or another. We have all been faithless and fall short. But the LORD calls us to be strong and courageous for the glory of God. He is worthy to be believed and trusted.

When He isn’t trusted, we miss out on seeing God work in ways we could never imagine. Sometimes that means we give up our lives to be a fragrant aroma of sacrifice for the LORD (Acts 6-7). And sometimes that means we are carried through the fiery trial to be publicly vindicated to the glory of God (Daniel 3). All for God’s glory and our ultimate good.

Book recommendations!

Check out this book about Richard Wurmbrand, who suffered enormously for standing against government authorities. Or of course, Corrie Ten Book’s book, The Hiding Place, is an incredible story of suffering and grace in a very difficult and scary time in history.

©2024 Mud Hen Mama


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?