COURAGE EXALTS CHRIST!
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. Philippians 1:20
An interesting thing occurred a few years ago as I read through Philippians. Although I had read it numerous times and received great encouragement, something new jumped off the pages at me. In Philippians 1:20 (above) a powerful Kingdom Principle made its home in my heart. It is contained within the statement made by the Apostle Paul in which he articulates that he possessed (and maintained) an expectation of courage. Not only did he have an expectation of it, the purpose of that courage was clear: “so that, now as always Christ will be exalted”.
Given my professional background and the “slightly intense” spirit the Lord has caused to dwell in me, I was struck with great intrigue. At some point, all I had been led to understand about a “good, Christian man” is that he should be a passive, mild-tempered, hard-working provider who is always willing to volunteer to help at church when someone exhibits a need (which is all true and glorifies the Lord). However, I had not heard the Spirit of Christ expressed as courageous, bold, dynamic, and mighty within the present context of living out our Faith.
On the contrary, I was regularly chastised by well-meaning members of my church for wanting to engage the Enemy, and enemies, of mankind in a tangible way. Eleven years after I served as Marine in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Lord spoke very intimately to my heart in a way I can never deny. Compelled by Christ’s love (and a hatred of wickedness) I went back to Iraq to serve our oppressed brothers and sisters there. For that passion and action, I was publicly rebuked, the hand of the Lord upon me was mocked, and all manner of personal insults were levied against me by my church leadership. However, it was at this same time that the Lord had set about sowing deep eternal truths into my spirit; some of the seeds of which would yield an unshakable confidence in the Lord and some of which would also yield the radical revelation that courage exalts Christ.
Fearlessness, or courage, magnifies the victory and mighty power that is in Christ Jesus. Be assured, whatever is under magnification becomes exponentially bigger in your field of view. That is not to say that our flesh does not have fear-based responses (psychological and physiological), but that our understanding of the Lord gives fortitude to move and act in spite of them. Like skilled astronomers we are to set the focal point of our full-spectrum lenses upon the intensification of the Lord of Glory. With the right lenses, all available photon particles are amassed to give full revelation of those things residing outside our natural comprehension. What we saw and understood dimly comes into the visible light. When the Lord and His Word and promises are telescopically magnified, then we can confidently take our place among those of whom it is said, “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Rev. 12:11).
OUR STEADFAST RESOLVE AND VALOR DURING THE THROES OF COMBAT MAKE THE REBEL INSURGENTS TREMBLE
Moreover, there is a direct correlation between confident courage and the exaltation of what is finished in Christ. When our identity in God through Jesus is secure and fearless, it is a fearsome affront to the Enemy: “This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you on the peoples who are under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you” (Deut 2:25). Our steadfast resolve and valor during throes of combat makes the Rebel Insurgents tremble.
Philippians 1 emphasizes this:
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him… Philippians 1:27-29
Fearlessness is a “sign” that the Enemy is destroyed and that we are in salvation? How crazy-powerful! This is why “do not fear” is never issued as a suggestion by the Lord, but rather as a direct command! Courage represents something cosmically powerful and immovable; it represents the victory that is already ours through Christ Jesus!
……..It is the wicked who are to flee though no one pursues them, while His Righteous Ones remain as bold as lions (Prov. 28:1)! It is the People of God who are to walk in power, in fearless love, and with a sound mind while the wicked run to-and-fro in fear, chaos, double-mindedness, and instability. It is the People of God who are to be revered and stand as pillars of strength and assuredness to a world whose foundations are crumbling. We are the light in the dark and the truth in the midst of strong delusions. Moreover, as men’s hearts fail them for fear of what they see coming up onto the earth, it is the People of God, who with steadfast hearts, hold out the Word of Life!
We stand while they sit; we persevere while they succumb; our camps resound with shouts of joy and victory while they weep and gnash their teeth (Ps 118:15); we do not shrink back regardless of what is being required of us, while they flee at the first sign of discomfort; we are free and without fear, while they remain in slavery to it; we overcome while they are overcome. It is simple: God’s spirit does not make cowards of us! (1 Tim 1:7a CEV).
Fearful living is not the hallmark of a disciple of Christ in any manifestation…courage is!
Steadfast, adjective, resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.
Synonyms: Loyal, faithful, committed, devoted, dedicated, dependable, reliable, steady, true, constant, staunch, solid, trustworthy Firm, determined, resolute, relentless, implacable, single-minded; unchanging, unwavering, unhesitating, unfaltering, unswerving, unyielding, unflinching, uncompromising
Listen up, Warriors, here is a true and trustworthy promise: “[He] will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast on Him, because they trust in Him. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal” (Isa 26:3,4 NIV). This is probably one of the most powerful word choices ever made!
Take note that the Lord keeps in perfect peace those who are already maintaining a steadfast heart toward Him! Look at the attributes of a person who is steadfast; they are profound! Being Redeemed by the Lord is not some free ride to the Pearly Gates. It requires us to wrestle, work to maintain, take hold of, and act out of our renewed mind, in faith, before the Living God. This is why we are admonished to flee from double-mindedness. We cannot have a torn allegiance. We cannot divide our fellowship with the world and the Kingdom; we cannot serve two masters faithfully:
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other…. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. Matthew 6:24, 2 Timothy 2:4
Steadfastness is an attribute of anyone possessing the Warrior Spirit and is a hallmark of the Christian life. It comes from a deep knowing of what was, is, and is to come through Christ. Chaos, disorder, illogical thoughts, anxiety, fear, emotional paralysis, these things are not of God. Instead, the Redeemed of the Lord are to lay hold of steadfastness, power, love, resolve, wisdom, peace, shrewdness, and the assuredness which are ours through the Holy Spirit. In light of all this wonderful news, stand in the power of Christ that is in you and make much of the Lord you serve…
…In Him we are devoted, solid, dependable, trustworthy, determined, relentless, unwavering, unhesitating, unfaltering, unswerving, unyielding, unflinching, and uncompromising with a strength of mind that is completely delivered, protected, secure, and sound! We are steadfast!
This is the Warrior-Spirit of the Redeemed and the legacy God has given us and that we are to proliferate to the next generation! Bless the Lord, your Rock, Who trains your hands for battle and your fingers for war (Ps. 144:1)! Who can stand against Him? Who can stand against His people? We are the Tabernacle (1 Cor 3:16-17) in which the very Spirit of God dwells! We have the tactical advantage to enter the fray, whatever it is today and whatever is to come, and by the victory given us, accomplish the Mission without fail!
Oh, what a blessed Spirit of Steadfastness the Lord graced to us…that is why we rejoice in the promises of PSALM 112 (I implore you to memorize it!):
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed… Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous…. For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady [steadfast]; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor. The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish! Psalm 112
This is why courage exalts Christ! It is representative of fear rightly placed and it is a testament to the freedom He won for us, thereby making much of the Son of God! Abundant blessing is attached to jealously guarding our fear and only giving it to the One Who is worthy; this is why God so plainly says that those “who know their God will go forth and do exploits”. It is why our brothers and sisters around the world (even as you read this) face death all day long with powerful courage that testifies that they are saved and that the Enemy is destroyed!
THEREFORE, STAND UP AND GET IN THE FIGHT EMOTIONALLY, SPIRITUALLY, AND PHYSICALLY BECAUSE THOSE OF THE WARRIOR SPIRIT HAVE AN EXPECTATION OF COURAGE UNDER FIRE THIS VERY DAY, AND EVERY DAY HEREAFTER!