The focus for the year is RISE UP, TAKE COURAGE, and DO IT! This is the part 2 of that year focus. In January, we looked at Rise up from Ezra 10:4 and what that means for the church and each believer.
Now we are going to look at Take Courage and what that means for the church and for each of you! We must have courage in our lives or we will not be effective as the church of Jesus Christ. Whether there is a global crisis or not; the world is a dark place and it is easy to fear the dark. We can become cowards when it comes to the dark. We trust and rely on our sight for understanding and safety so much that when that is taken away we can quickly loose ourselves to the unknown of our next step or tomorrow. If you are feeling like that today and you can’t see where you are going or what tomorrow holds…don’t give up! Jesus Christ has great courage for you in a world that is dark and unknown. He has a plan and a purpose for you in a time when you can’t see your next step.
When you don’t know where your help or hope or safety or comfort will come from look to Jesus Christ for courage.
Jesus will give you courage through the Holy Spirit, but it does not mean you will have an easy life. If that were the case Jesus wouldn’t have said…
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
In life we all experience dark places when we aren’t sure of what will happen and things become difficult and we become tired of trusting and walking through the darkness and maybe stepping on things that hurt or tripping over those things we didn’t see coming.
But take heart!
If you are looking for a life of comfort don’t look to the church. Jesus said His disciples would have to pick up their cross and follow Him. This being Palm Sunday we find ourselves beginning the week of that journey of Jesus to the Cross.
Throughout this blog we will look at Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and the courage He had in doing this, but within that story I believe there is an example for us in Jesus of this verse we find in 2 Timothy.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (fear, cowardness), but a spirit of Power, of Love, and of Self-Discipline (Self-Control).
2 Timothy 1:7
As we begin looking at what Jesus did and how He paid for the sins of the world it is important to remember that the Holy Spirit was upon Jesus as He walked the path God had placed before Him and we can follow the path that He walked…take up their cross and follow Me…
We will look at the Triumphal Entry as our example of how Jesus showed Power, Love, and Self-Disciple in His life.
You will find the full account in Luke 19:28-48, but I will type it fully here. I will summarize to help point to where Jesus showed Power, Love, and Self-Disciple.
Jesus began His journey to Jerusalem and instructed two disciples to get a colt and if anyone asked why they were talking it Jesus said simply say…
The Lord needs it.
When the disciples found the colt they were asked and with those words they were allowed to take the colt to Jesus. Then He rode the colt toward Jerusalem and a crowed began waving branches and laying their cloaks before Jesus saying…
38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
With this the Pharisees and Jewish leaders became angry and told Jesus to make them stop of rebuke them. But Jesus replies
40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Jesus made that statement knowing that all creation was created to give glory to God and He was pointing again toward His deity in saying that the earth cries out for Him. Then Jesus begins praying for Jerusalem. He enters to the temple and drives out the merchants saying…
46 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
Jesus made a mockery of what the custom and traditions had been in the temple at the time of Passover. Jesus had great courage in knowing that He was in God’s will. If we are moving in the will of God we should have the same veracity and zeal for the Lord as Jesus did. The section of study ends with.
47 Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. 48 Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, was not lost in the dark. He knew His path and followed it without hesitation. It is easy to walk when we see the path, but there are many times in life when we don’t see the path. However, God has a path laid out if we are willing to talk by faith and not sight trusting that He will accomplish His plan for you.
Jesus showed a lot of power over fear and to witness. In this display of His Kingship Jesus made one of His final statements of being God. Jesus knew that this was where His journey on earth would end. He was ready to follow God’s plan to the cross. It is clear Jesus knew He would be crucified because of what He said in John 12:24-28
24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”
Jesus said “Now my soul is troubled and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’?
Jesus knew that the path God had put Him on would be terrible, but He knew it was the best one. It was the only way to conqueror sin and death through His death and humiliation. We, too, have a path set by God for us to walk. Jesus paid the final price for our sin, but we must follow Christ to the ends of the earth if that is the path we called to.
23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
We have not been given a spirit of fear, but of POWER!
Jesus showed that we must have power over fear knowing that whether we see it right now or not God has a plan for our lives and if we take courage over the unknown or the know God will accomplish great things through us.
Jesus also showed that the Holy Spirit will give us Power to witness. Jesus made such a statement when He rode into the City that people saw God. The Holy Spirit has come so we can point toward God and even if people hate us the truth through our words and actions will ring out clear to those who are searching.
Chapter 19 of Luke ends with
48 Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.
Jesus was a powerful witness to who God was and God’s great plan of salvation for the earth. Are we willing to rise up against the chaos and take courage to be a witness to the Gospel?
Jesus promised that we could have power to witness to the Kingdom of Heaven as He did just before He ascended into Heaven.
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
We have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit so we can have power over fear and power to witness to the greatness of Jesus Christ and the path for the earth to find salvation. Jesus understood the path He was on, but instead of avoiding or rushing it. He took one step at a time to accomplish God’s great plan.
Maybe you are unsure the next step God has for you and fear the unknown or maybe you have found the path, but are fearful of where it will lead you?
Know that even through life is not easy Jesus has overcome the world and the Holy Spirit is always with you to be your comforter in difficult times. Moses told the people of God;
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
We have power and courage from God who is always with us in the hard times and in the easy times. If we are willing to trust that He is walking with us on the path and He knows the beginning and the end. He will lead and guide, but it is our job to pick up our cross and follow. No matter where He leads.
He has great power for you if you will simply choose to have courage it in your life.
Jesus is the greatest example of love we have ever had. Jesus knowing that He would die for people who didn’t love or accept Him is the truest form of Agope. Jesus said in John
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Jesus rode into Jerusalem while the people were praising He began praying over the city knowing that His death would take place soon. In the midst of the rejoicing Jesus grieved for the people. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the mountain tops, but we must remember the heart of God is for the lost and the hurting. If we stop in the middle of the rejoicing we will not have the courage to extend the love God has for people. That love may look different for each person, but if we are truly going to pick up our cross and follow Jesus we must show the love that Jesus showed. Unconditional love; love that isn’t earned, love that is true and complete.
Love that says, “I will do my best to help you find truth and salvation, even if it means doing something crazy.”
Jesus grieved over the people knowing His death was coming; then He went to the temple and out of great love and power with great courage Jesus drove out the merchants. It is important that we understand sin is real and often sin is what is standing between our friends or loved ones from coming to God in salvation.
Jesus knew the end of was near and with a great gesture of love exposed their sin and mockery of God and His house.
Too often love is confused with niceness.
Love means caring enough about someone to tell them the truth. This means exposing the sin and problems in their lives. We must use the power and courage from the Holy Spirit to love people. In a time when sin is hidden, ignored, justified, or categorized the church must rise up and take courage over the sin that so easily entangles.
Jesus had courage to love people enough to drive out the sin from the temple; knowing that it would cause the Jewish leaders plot to kill Him. We, too, must be willing to love each other enough to stand against sin without fear; because we are following God.
Now, understand love is not yelling at someone for sin, but it is using the understanding and truth from the Holy Spirit to build up out of sin not tear down people. This is why love has often been confused with niceness, because in an attempt to love people and help them see and work through their sin; people have not followed the leading the Holy Spirit. That caused people to tear each other down instead of build each other up in the most Holy Faith toward Christ. This also is a difficult cross we must carry, but walking in step with the Holy Spirit on that path will give you the ability to help others and if you are the one struggling with sin; finding that path through the Holy Spirit will lead you out of your dark valley.
The last thing Paul writes to Timothy is the Spirit gives self-discipline of self-control. The Holy Spirit gives us self-discipline to continue walking the path we are called to. As stated before, we can fear the unknown or the known in our walk with Christ; but the Holy Spirit gives self-discipline in knowing that we are on the right path.
Jesus knew He was supposed to enter the city of Jerusalem on a colt. He could have rode in on a great horse and conquered the Jewish leaders and the Roman government, but He chose to not rely on His deity, but trusted that if He humbled Himself God’s plan would be fulfilled.
6 (Jesus) Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
It is important that we don’t fall into pride or selfishness; trying to grasp what is only God’s. We like Jesus must take courage knowing that if we allow the Holy Spirit to build self-discipline in our lives we will be humble as Jesus was riding in on that donkey knowing that it wasn’t about Him, but it was about the love and salvation that came through Him. The gifts God has given you are for the body. Use your gifts and talents for God without falling into pride or selfishness without fear. It takes a lot of courage to give all we have for the benefit of God. But this is what we must do. God has given gifts and desires to each of us and we must not hold onto them in fear, but give them back for His purpose.
During the Triumphal entry Jesus showed that the Holy Spirit gives power, love and self-discipline. Don’t fall into the fear that comes from this dark world, but allow the Holy Spirit to grow these in you so you will not live in fear or timidity.
Pray and asked God to take you on a journey of picking up your cross everyday and following Christ. If you do this life may become harder, but it will grow your reliance on the Holy Spirit.
Jesus needed to rely on the Holy Spirit Power, Love, and Self-Discipline as He rode into Jerusalem toward His crucifixion. Whenever He is leading you; take steps every day to get there NO MATTER THE COST!
Take Courage and Follow Jesus!
God Bless and BETheLIGHT!