Light to Live By

"The unfolding of your words gives light ..." (Psalm 119:130a)

Month: October 2013

You Cannot Harm Us!

justin.martyr

“Justin Martyr, one of the leaders of the early church, also serves as a portrait of convictional leadership. Leading members of his own congregation to their mutual execution at the hands of the Roman authorities, Justin encouraged his people with these words, written to the Roman emperor Antonius Pius: ‘You can kill us, but you cannot harm us.’ (empahsis added, Albert Mohler, The Conviction to Lead, pp.23-24)

What Will You Do?

“If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5)

run-with-horses

“The terrible threat is ‘that we might die earlier than we really do die, before death has become a natural necessity. The real horror lies in just such a premature death, a death after we go on living for many years.’

There is a memorable passage concerning Jeremiah’s life when, worn down by the opposition and absorbed in self-pity, he was about to capitulate to just such a premature death. He was ready to abandon his unique calling in God and settle for being a Jerusalem statistic. At that critical moment he heard the reprimand: ‘If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you fall down, how will you do in the jungle of the Jordan?’ (Jer 12:5). …

Life is difficult, Jeremiah. Are you going to quit at the first wave of opposition? Are you going to retreat when you find that there is more to life than finding three meals a day and a dry place to sleep at night? Are you going to run home the minute you find that the mass of men and women are more interested in keeping their feet warm than in living at risk to the glory of God? Are you going to live cautiously or courageously? I called you to live at your best, to pursue righteousness, to sustain a drive toward excellence. It is easier, I know, to be neurotic. It is easier to be parasitic. It is easier to relax in the embracing arms of The Average. Easier, but not better. Easier, but not more significant. Easier, but not more fulfilling. I called you to a life of purpose far beyond what you think yourself capable of living and promised you adequate strength to fulfill your destiny. Now at the first sight of difficulty you are ready to quit. If you are fatigued by this run-of-the-mill crowd of apathetic mediocrities, what will you do when the real race starts, the race with the swift and determined horses of excellence? What is it you really want, Jeremiah, do you want to shuffle along with this crowd, or run with the horses? …

The euphoric impetus of youthful enthusiasm no longer carried him. He weighed his options. He counted the cost. He tossed and turned in hesitation. The response when it came was not verbal but biographical. His life became his answer, ‘I’ll run with the horses.’” (pp.17-19, Run With the Horses, Eugene H. Peterson)

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