“Some want to live within sound of church and chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop a yard from hell.” So spoke C.T. Studd, pioneer missionary to China, India, and Africa, where he lived and served until his death.
Throughout Christian history, those who have given their all to the cause of Christ and His kingdom have been the first ones to charge into the fray, and the last ones to return home, giving their lives on the field of glory. What is it that makes these men and women so daring, risking everything they possess on their faith and their God?
Those of the faith have a heritage behind them of such men, who saw the promises of God square in front of them, and went after them. In Joshua chapter ten the Israelites met an army of five kings: “So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour. And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear them not: for I have delivered them into thine hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee. Joshua therefore came upon them suddenly, and went up from Gilgal all night… and slew them with a great slaughter.” There was no time for rest, nor for sleep, for God had set forth a mission before Joshua, and by faith, he ran headlong into it, and won the battle.
Later, in the same book, we find that Caleb is claiming his promise: “Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua… and Caleb… said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the Lord said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadesh-barnea… and Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and they children’s forever, because thou hast wholly followed the Lord. And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years… now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old . As yet I am as strong as this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain… (Josh. 14:6, 9-12)” You must realize, this is no ordinary mountain Caleb had requested; this was Hebron, the mount on which sat Kirjatharba, city of giants. Despite the challenge and his age, Caleb strode up Hebron in faith, and smashed the giants.
If we follow this pattern, we find the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. After preparing for his battle, he comes towards his enemy. “And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David… and when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him… and the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the field. Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts… And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.” David didn’t meander over to the battle, nor did he walk over; he hasted, running as fast as he could to fight this twelve foot tall man.
This isn’t simply an Old Testament concept, for in the New Testament, there are incredible examples of the same courage and faith. Peter and John, preaching in the temple, were cast into jail multiple times, threatened each time with death, or worse. Despite all those that opposed them, they stood and preached with boldness, knowing that the King was faithful and that His purpose was to spread the kingdom. In a similar fashion, Paul knows he is called to preach in Lystra, but they stone him and cast him out of the city. Not only does he survive, but he stands up and goes straight back into Lystra. Never for a second did Paul cease from fighting the good fight, until the day he died.
The greatest, most triumphant display of such faith and courage is found in Christ. There is a troop, led by Judas Iscariot, coming to take him and slay him. What does He do? “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he… As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if ye therefore seek me, let these go their way” (John 18:4-8). Jesus didn’t try to dodge the battle ahead of Him; He did not walk calmly into it. Our Lord charged straight in, knowing full well what would happen to Him, but for the joy that was set before Him, endured it all.
Are you willing to be as Christ, to run headlong into battle, knowing it will cost you your very life, but considering it all worth it for the sake of the cross? Are you willing to give yourself solely to this one cause, this one kingdom, and this one glory? Are you willing to die a soldier’s death, bearing the pain and agony with joy and rejoicing, knowing that this light affliction is but momentary? Only then will you discover the power and might that resides in the gospel.
“Too long have we been waiting for one another to begin! The time for waiting is past! The hour of God has struck! War is declared! In God’s holy name let us arise and build! The God of heaven, He will fight for us, as we for him. We will not build on the sand, but on the bedrock of the sayings of Christ and the gates and minions of hell shall not prevail against us. Shall such men as we fear? Before the whole world, yes, before the sleepless, lukewarm, faithless, namby-pamby Christian world, we will dare to trust our God. We will venture our all for Him. We will live and we will die for Him, and we will do it with His joy unspeakable, singing aloud in our hearts. We will a thousand times sooner die trusting in our God than live trusting in man. And when we come to this position, the battle is already won and the end of the glorious campaign in sight. We will have the real holiness of God, not the sickly stuff of talk and dainty words and pretty thoughts. We will have a masculine holiness, one of daring faith and works for Jesus Christ.” – C.T. Studd
May this be true of us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nik Ellison, a mighty man in the making who is currently attending Ellerslie School of Honor, originally hails from Athens, Georgia. Nik is a man obsessed with Jesus and delights himself in the richness of the Word. Though not yet eighteen, He is daily being spilled and spent for King and Kingdom while setting the example of a Christ-built man of God. For more information about Nik and to read further articles and studies by him, please visit his blog by clicking here.