–written by JJ Cole
In the midst of a pivotable scene in the famous Mel Gibson movie “The Patriot,” Charlotte tells Benjamin Martin, “You have done nothing to be ashamed of.” Martin’s somber response was, “I have done nothing. And for that I am ashamed.”
I recently read through the book of Acts. So much ground is covered in those 28 chapters as we see the original disciples taking the torch and pressing forward with Jesus’ call “to go.” (see Matthew 28:19)
In Acts, we learn of the courage and intentional acts of these men and women. (No wonder the book is called “Acts.”) Peter and John were called into the streets of Jerusalem and it’s courts. Stephen was called to stand his ground against the mob. Ananias was called to have compassion on an enemy. Paul was called to boldly take the message of Christ into the outside world, which would be us.
It is sobering to contemplate what might be today, had these people not acted on their calling. The privilege I have of attending and participating in a church such as Southern Hills was built on the backs and the acts of these brave Christ-Followers and those who have followed in their footsteps ever since.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. – Ephesians 2:10
Here’s the thing… we all have something to offer. So much time is spent in our lives contemplating our “purpose” and “meaning.” God literally screams from the scriptures that true purpose is discovered as we begin to act on the gifts, talents, and passions that He plants in us. The key is submitting to His direction, and one very clear direction He gives is to get involved, interact, and work with other Christ-followers. It could be argued that this is literally the first step in truly determining His will for you.
Paul tells us “We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other” (Romans 12:5). In fact, we cannot begin to comprehend the will of God until we submit to this truth. The Church at Philippi was one of the churches that understood this, and Paul writes to them in response to their unity in Christ:
I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. – Philippians 1:9-10
So, get in the fight, be apart of the story, because it is so much more than attending church service every Sunday. The blunt, hard truth is that Satan and the evil forces in this world have no concern for the half-hearted, 50% Christian who is simply observing from the sideline. They are absolutely content to keep them there and focus their energy on fighting the rest of us in the trenches. Get off the sidelines, if you are. If your involved, stay involved and persevere alongside other Christ-followers. What made the church of Acts 2 so powerful was their commitment to one another and the decision not to stand by and do nothing. I don’t know what it looks like for you to get involved, but God does. Ask Him.
Teddy Roosevelt summed up this mindset perfectly when he wrote, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly.”
Allow the Holy Spirit to take you deeper, and know that you’ll be in good company as you help build the Church for the next generation and take your place among the great champions for Christ.