Thursday, May 26, 2011

Commitment to follow Christ

So who are your heroes? Sports figures? The latest box-office star? The president of the United States, or some other world leader? Maybe an innovative business magnate, such as Steve Jobs or Bill Gates? Or a trendsetter and opinion-maker such as Oprah?

We live in a hero-worshipping culture, where the image of the person de jour can be found everywhere we look — the Internet, Twitter, Facebook, television, celebrity-based magazines. We're attracted to those people who are the richest, the most attractive, the most skilled, or most successful at what they do. We want to know all about them.

But then, as so frequently happens, we are disappointed and discouraged when our hero falls in disgrace because of some scandal or personal indiscretion. We learn that they've cheated on their spouse, or their income taxes, or took performance-enhancing drugs. And so, we wait for the next hero to come along so we can admire and delight in him or her.
Throughout God's Word, we read how His saints suffered greatly for their faith. Yet their lives emitted a sweetness that continues to draw us to the Lord Jesus Christ each day.

The author of Hebrews writes:
"I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. ...Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two;they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated--the world was not worthy of them. ...These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect" (Hebrews 11:32-40).

PRINCIPALS - "David's Mighty Men"

David's mighty men were "in distress, ...in debt, and ...discontented"(1 Samuel 22:2). Adino slew 800 men at once. Eleazar slew so many Philistines "his hand clave unto the sword." Shammah defended a crop in a field from an entire army. Three men penetrated enemy lines to fetch a drink of water for David. Abishai slew 300 with a spear. Benaiah slew a lion in a pit in a snowstorm, then killed a fierce Egyptian with his own spear. Thirty brave heroes in all.

2 Samuel 23:8 - "These be the names of the mighty men whom David had."

Making a commitment to follow Christ will cost you something, but the rewards are eternal. The Old Testament saints followed God in reckless abandon and considered knowing Him far more valuable than anything this world has to offer.

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