(This post was written by our dear sister Ginger Hernandez.)
This past New Years I was thinking about what kind of resolution I wanted to make. I was holding my month-and-a-half-old baby and I just wanted to be better for Grace. There are so many things I wanted to be, but what they boiled down to were to be brave. I may make this into a series of articles on the topic of bravery, but for this one, the focus will be on Matthew 10. I encourage reading through the chapter.
At the beginning of the chapter, Jesus sends out the 12 disciples and gives them power over evil spirits and to heal every disease (v.1). He tells them that they are to go “saying, ‘the kingdom of God is at hand.’ “ and that they are going to heal people who are sick and also cast out demons (vv. 6-8). They were going to be doing all these great things in the name of God and it all sounds good, but then Jesus follows it up with some scary stuff:
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake to bear witness to the Gentiles” (vv. 16-18).
Then in verse 21, Jesus continues by saying families will turn on each other because of the ministry that he is sending his disciples and that the twelve “…will be hated by all for my name’s sake” (v. 22). Being Jesus’ disciple has heavy consequences.
I often find myself wanting to do brave things, like help homeless people, talk to my neighbors about Jesus, make artwork to glorify God, tell people about how my relationship with God has changed my life. But I’m afraid of not being taken seriously, of doing it wrong and coming off as stupid or of people avoiding me because of it or people becoming outright angry at me. This cowardliness brings me shame. Is it possible that I want the glory of doing a good thing more than I want to glorify God?
This fear gets in the way of me living out God’s purpose, not just for me but for other people around me as well. If people are not shown the glory of God, afterall, how can they ever know it? But Jesus continues in v. 22 : “But the one who endures to the end will be saved,” and then in vv. 28-33:
“…Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both the soul and the body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And one does not fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven, but he who denies me before men, I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
Fear of the rejection and consequences from people by living for Jesus are only temporary. We must trust that God loves us as his children and keeps his promises. It is distrust in that, it is submitting to the fear, instead of to the Father, that separates us from God and puts us in reach of Satan.
I set out this year to become a braver person. I want to be a better Christian because it’s not just my soul anymore. As I type these words, I see that it always has been more than just my soul; it’s everyone around me as well. I have made small strides in becoming more outspoken about my faith. I have started sharing things on social media. I wrote this article. My dad is preparing for a podcast on YouTube, and asked me to help him with the script and to make the logo. I was asked to work with the older kids to make a special painting for Easter. That got put on hold, but there are going to be other Easters and I won’t let Satan win this time. I’m learning to be brave and to want God to be seen in the world more than I want the world to see me and more than my fear of being exposed. I still have so much to do, so please pray with me that I can do it.