May 28, 2024

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”
– 1 Corinthians 16:13

At a recent youth baseball game I witnessed what has become all too common on our playing fields. The kids were competing hard and having fun. The fact that it was a “playoff game” was much more important to the parents in attendance than it was the players. The lone umpire seemed to be enjoying himself as he stood behind the pitcher’s mound calling balls and strikes. It didn’t take long for the groans to begin. “That’s too high!” “No way that was a strike!” One parent left the stands and stood behind his son’s dugout and began chirping at the man in blue. Seizing the moment, the umpire stopped the game, walked over to the dugout, instructed the parent to go back to the stands and in his words, “Zip it!” The situation was defused and the game continued. I have heard courage defined as “the quality of being ready and willing to face negative situations.” These situations can be faced without fear or despite fear. I have learned that some actions may be unpopular, but they often leave an unforgettable impression. You know courage when you see it.

The Apostle Paul gave us some powerful words about being courageous in our faith. In a world that is increasingly challenging our morals and spiritual convictions, we must always be ready to make the unpopular decision. It takes courage to stand up for what is morally right and for the truths of God’s Word. In an “anything goes world”, followers of Jesus Christ will stand out. Paul tells us that we must watch constantly. In football vernacular, we must keep our head on a swivel. We are encouraged by Paul to stand firm in the faith, to be brave and to be strong. This approach will often be unpopular and may come with some unwanted consequences. The umpire took a stand in speaking to the disgruntled fan. He never raised his voice, he was respectful, but left no doubt that he was in control. As followers of Jesus, we must demonstrate love and courage. We trust that through Christ, the world will see it and receive it.

Gracious Heavenly Father, You know every inch of my heart. May I stand boldly and with courage today as I face the challenges of this world. Teach me to be watchful, firm and strong in my faith. It’s in Jesus’s name I pray, Amen.


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