Hold Your Fire
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I realize now that I really wasn't ever going to make it as a tennis player. Oh, I played the most with my son. And, I think I had a decent serve for a beginner. But I had trouble returning my son's shots. Now, I think you'll agree that is a basic skill for succeeding in tennis. You do have to get it back to the other guy. Actually, that's important in a lot of sports. For example: volleyball; you lose the point when you can't return the shot; ping-pong; oh, you know, there are a lot of places where that's important. In fact, in most arenas returning the shot—well, that's an important skill to be cultivated. In one arena it's a skill to be eliminated.
Well, Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 1 Peter 2:21. "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps." Now let's stop for just a minute here. Peter is saying that this world needs more of Jesus. Now, There are a lot of people around you who are desperate to have Jesus walk among them, and He can. He can walk into your office. He can be in your school. He can be in your family through you, because He's in you.
Now, the Bible here says that Christ is our example, and the Greek word that's used there is the word that talked about a copy head on a school child's slate. And as they were learning their alphabet—alpha, beta, gamma, delta…the Greek alphabet—they would just simply copy the letter at the top and try to make their letter as much like the letter at the top as they could; an exact copy. Now, this says that Christ is our copy head. He's the one we're trying to make an exact replica of. We're trying to be as much like Him in our life as possible so that when people come in contact with us, they come in contact with Him.
Now, when is it hardest to follow that example? When is it hardest to be like Jesus? Well, when it's most important to be. Verse 23, "When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate. When He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly."
The real proof that shows a person's real character is what he does when he's being shot at. Now, you notice what happened to Jesus here? He was insulted, but there was no retaliation.
They hurt Him and yet there were no threats coming back. Our Master was abusively, horribly treated; He was deeply hurt. And boy did He have the power to hurt back like you and I never will, and He chose not to!
Now, when are you most likely to sin? Well, probably when someone is really attacking you, criticizing you, coming after you, when they're firing something at you. Maybe you've been betrayed recently, or you've been deeply wounded verbally, or maybe you've even been hurt physically. Everything in you cries out, "I'll fix him!" "I'll fix her!" Your mind starts racing through ways that you can retaliate; ways you can even the score. And now here comes the Jesus test. Does knowing Christ make any difference when it really counts?
In Romans 12 the Apostle Paul says, "Do not repay anyone evil for evil; do not take revenge, but leave room for God's wrath." Let God even the score; He's much better at it than you are. Jesus turned to His Father for justice. An eye for an eye is not the way of Jesus. Even from His cross He says of those who have nailed Him to that cross, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." That's the example for us. When you refuse to return the shot, you refuse to shrink to the level of your attackers; you refuse to let them control you. And more importantly, you rise to the level of your Lord, who gives you the grace not to hurt back.
Life isn't tennis. In Christ you win if you don't return the shot. So, hold your fire!
Distributed by Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.