January 26, 2009
Putting on a badge turns brave police officers into potential targets. Yet they're devoted to protecting and serving. That takes courage. Being a Christian also takes courage. Putting on the badge of Christ targets us for persecution and danger-physical or emotional. We take a stand for Christ, which may invite rejection.
Bible heroes often wore the badge of courage. Esther and her cousin Mordecai were Jews in Persia. When King Xerxes grew disenchanted with his queen, Esther was chosen to replace her. Later, Mordecai overheard an assassination plot and saved the king's life. Coincidences? No. Behind events of history moves the hidden hand of God, placing His people where needed for their moments of destiny.
God places His people strategically, not always comfortably. Mordecai discovered a plot to destroy all the Jews in Persia. Warning Esther, he said she must go to the king (Esther 4:13-14). But that could mean death. Even a queen must be summoned.
Maybe God has placed you in a certain situation so you can be His representative there. Perhaps you have to take a stand that isn't easy.
Esther made a life and death decision: "I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish." Our survival isn't the most important issue. Obedience is. Courage. Standing for Christ. Those are the things that matter.
Ultimately, the hand of God prevailed. The Jews were spared, the plotter perished, and Mordecai was promoted.
Sometimes God puts us in a tight place. But if we believe there are no accidents with God and obey His will in all situations, it's comforting to know He will use us to make a difference.
One person does make a difference. God uses everybody in His plan-no throwaways. You are important. Your example, model, influence, and decisions are vitally important. As you walk before God and take a stand for Christ, you make a difference in your world.
We cannot say, as Esther tried at the beginning, "Well, I can't do anything about it." Yes, you can. You can do what God calls you to do. God can use you if you flash the badge of courage for Him by standing up for the issues you care about. It may not be a national crisis like Esther's. It may be a crisis in your family, business, church, or in your own personal well-being.
Was Esther afraid? Certainly. Courage is not the absence of fear. It's persevering in spite of the fear. Courage doesn't mean I am oblivious to the danger. Courage may mean that I truly understand the danger and fully comprehend what the danger means. But in spite of that, I go forward (sometimes with my knees trembling), knowing that if my cause is righteous, my courage will be reinforced.
The person who waits to act in the moment of crisis until he has all the courage he needs for the entire event will never act. But if he has the courage to take the first step, whatever it is, God will give him greater strength.
Some of you are facing tremendous challenges, but you know what you must do. If your cause is just, if you know the path is right, in the process of moving toward the righteous cause, God will reinforce your courage.
I'd like to close with a special word to young people reading this article. It's often difficult to uphold your convictions when everyone around you is going in the opposite direction. Sometimes Christian young people who truly love the Lord feel like fish swimming upstream. But if you know what is right and do what is right, God will strengthen your courage as you step forward in faith, holding high the badge of Jesus Christ. As you move from courage to courage, you'll be able to face every challenge, succeed on every occasion, and glorify God in every battle. Esther had courage in crisis and, because of that, she is revered by us all.
Dare to be an Esther. Dare to wear the badge of courage and to stand up, stand up for Jesus.
This article originally ran in September 2007.
This article was excerpted from Turning Points, Dr. David Jeremiah's devotional magazine. For more information please visit the Turning Points on the Web.