The deal for me was that I was a coward. I was far too comfortable with the trappings of comfort, indulgence and selfishness which I had built up around me over the years. Even though I knew that the habits I had embraced were unhealthy and ultimately destructive, I was too afraid to step out of my known into the unknown.
When your closest community consists of people just like you, and it often does, change from the expectations of that community risks your place within that group. I didn’t want to be rejected or ridiculed and was afraid enough of that possibility that for years I refused to get serious about what I knew to be True.
Well, OK, we may think, that’s normal. Nobody wants to be rejected, there’s nothing wrong with that, we reason. But that line of reasoning is based in our own frailty and not founded in any Truth.
As I read Revelation this week (see Tuesday’s post), I noticed that God has something to say about cowardice. His eternal and omnipotent perspective certainly trumps my flawed little view. In Revelation 21:8, he groups “the cowardly and unbelieving” with “the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars.” A group without distinction, according to the Eternal Truth. In fact, if you want to ascribe any weight based in order of listing, cowardice and unbelief are first.
The first battle we face isn’t the habits of our flesh, it’s the courage of our soul. When we finally gird up to the point that we are able to quit making ourselves out to be little gods and yield in belief of the One True God, then we are prepared to allow Him to free us from the other stuff. When we are courageous enough to let go of our little kingdom, we inherit an abundant Kingdom. His Spirit is unleashed within us when we are brave enough to yield.
The root meaning of the word “cowardly ” includes being “timid.” So many of us have stepped towards God enough to become presentable but remain timid in obedience to His voice. We’re in, but only if we get to keep our house. This timidity has left us associated with “the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars” regardless of how many times a week we go to church.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9