Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Download MP3 (right click to save)
Look, you can't study all the time when you're in college; you need a little diversion, right? For me it was that little social action group that I put together. It's called The Vigilantes. Yeah, our social action consisted of very strategic maneuvers – otherwise known as practical jokes. One of them turned out to be very impractical, actually.
One well-known senior had just gotten engaged and we felt he was especially deserving for a special engagement, shall we say, commemoration. He was the advisor in the dorm of about forty freshmen. We were seniors. There were eight of us in our little war party and no sooner had we all gotten in the door of the dorm than we were attacked by forty wild-eyed freshmen. Someone had leaked our raid and our friend had all the freshmen ready to cream us! It was not pretty. We slithered back to our dorms, humiliated by freshmen no less!
But I couldn't leave it there! No, I went door to door in our dorm recruiting a small army in the name of "upper class honor." Pretty soon we had about sixty rowdy guys packed into a dorm lounge preparing for a return raid. The freshmen learned their humility lesson that night, and our friend finally had his engagement appropriately celebrated. Oh, we had suffered a serious setback, but we responded aggressively!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Beat Up But No Retreat."
Our word today from the Word of God comes from 2 Timothy 1:7. Understand that Paul is writing this from a tiny cell in a prison in Rome. I've been in what they believe was that cell. Soon he'll be put to death for his stand for Jesus Christ. Listen to what he says, "God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline." I mean, Paul has lost a lot of the people he has counted on; he's suffered all kinds of setbacks. He can't preach, he can't start any churches, his future is looking bleak. Sounds like a scenario for a retreat doesn't it? But there's not a whisper of defeat here, of self-pity, or retreat.
Maybe you find yourself in a situation somewhat like Paul's right now? Serious limitations, there's so much you need and want to do, but the money is not there, your health isn't there, the help isn't there, your hands are tied, your resources are limited, maybe gone, your obstacles are overwhelming. What's the temptation? Well, let's say when we had that night when we got whipped real bad, we just go back and nurse our wounds, give it up. No. We said, "No, we're going to respond aggressively."
On a very serious level, God is calling us here to refuse to lose even if we're beat up! Basically he's saying, "Don't get timid now! No matter how limiting your circumstances look, keep the aggressive, conquering spirit of one who belongs to King Jesus."
Paul says, "Not a spirit of timidity, but of power." Maybe you feel like a powerless victim right now, well quit focusing on you. Jesus' power isn't confined by the walls that surround you. Pray boldly, pray aggressively, go after victories as one who has the unlimited power of a risen Christ available to you. No stack of bills, no illness, no injury, no human failure can limit the power of Jesus. Then have the spirit of love, he says. Don't start turning inward because of the hard times, keep pushing out, keep looking for people who need you; for people you can love, people you can help in Jesus' name.
Then he talks about the spirit of self-discipline. Stay on course, man. Don't let your feelings or your fatigue win. I know what it feels like to be knocked down. Not just from being routed a long time ago in a college dorm. Many times since I've faced circumstances that seem to leave me powerless, but only to discover again that retreat was not God's order.
He's calling you right now against what your feelings and your environment may be telling you, to come out aggressively. You may be restricted, but you don't have to be retreating. You have power, you have love, you have self-discipline in Jesus Christ that can make you more than conquer through Him who loved us.