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Monday, May 21, 2007

Where I have Failed...

Every once in a while (about once every three months), I listen to John Piper's biography on Athanasius. I've found it to be a tremendous encouragement (and have even petitioned my wife that this could be the name of our next son!). As Piper was speaking, he made this point:

Joyful courage is the calling of a faithful shepherd.
Athanasius stared down murderous intruders into his church. He stood before emperors who could have killed him as easily as exiled him. He risked the wrath of parents and other clergy by consciously training young people to give their all for Christ, including martyrdom. He celebrated the fruit of his ministry with these words: “in youth they are self-restrained, in temptations endure, in labors persevere, when insulted are patient, when robbed make light of it: and, wonderful as it is, they despise even death and become martyrs of Christ”34—martyrs not who kill as they die, but who love has they die.

Athanasius contra mundum should inspire every pastor to stand your ground meekly and humbly and courageously whenever a biblical truth is at stake. But be sure that you always out-rejoice your adversaries. If something is worth fighting for, it worth rejoicing over. And the joy is essential in the battle, for nothing is worth fighting for that will not increase our joy in God. Our people must see that.

Courage in conflict must mingle with joy in Christ. This is what Athanasius loved about Antony and what he sought to be himself. This was part of his battle strategy with his adversaries:

Let us be courageous and rejoice always. . . . Let us consider and lay to heart that while the Lord is with us, our foes can do us no hurt. . . . But if they see us rejoicingin the Lord, contemplating the bliss of the future, mindful of the Lord, deeming all things in His hand . . . —they are discomfited and turned backwards.35

So, brothers, even if at times it may feel as though we are alone contra mundum, let us stand courageous and out-rejoice our adversaries.
I confess, I have sought to be courageous, but being joyful can sometimes be the challenge for my sin-filled soul.

Lord forgive me for the times I have called people toward truth but my bitter attitude has made that truth unattractive.

Lord help people see that the reason I fight is because I know no greater love than You!

3 Comments:

  • At 9:14 PM, Blogger anonymous_commentator said…

    Lord, I can't rejoice in the midst of the trial! However, Father, I submit myself to you. Lord fill me with YOUR rejoicing. May Your joy, Lord, be my strength in a real way.

    Bro. D, thanks for sharing, I really needed that right now!!

     
  • At 8:30 PM, Blogger ~d said…

    your next son....does that mean you know the gender of this baby?!?

     
  • At 7:32 AM, Blogger danny2 said…

    just assuming we'll have another son some day

     

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