This week the youth leadership team of our church sat around our fire pit at Hebron Woods (our home) when, seemingly out of nowhere, came thunder and lightening that lit up the night sky like the finale of a Fourth of July fireworks show. It was quite a light show. All of the forest was lit up with each lightening strike. The thunder booms sounded like cannons on a battlefield. It was fierce and frightening.
Do you ever think of God as fierce? Frightening? Yet God created the thunder and lightening. God formed the cougar to jump and tear apart a young fawn. God made the hawk to dive bomb a rabbit and carry it off in its talons. Job described the pursuit of God as being like a fierce lion. Fierce and frightening are the ways of the Lord.
Paul, in describing the Christian life, said, “You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win.” (1 Cor 9:24 The Message). Paul is exhorting fierce faith. The kind of faith that is best described as an athlete unwilling to lose.
It takes fierceness to win. In the 2015 NCAA Basketball finals, Duke had fallen behind Wisconsin by nine points with 13:23 left in the season when Coach K made a dramatic switch, bringing in Freshman Grayson Allen. He alone outscored Wisconsin 8-3 and as one commentator said, “He played like a man on fire!” From leaping after balls out of bounds to dramatic shots, Allen’s fierce boldness and “all in” attitude rallied Duke from seeming defeat into its 5th national championship under Coach K.
God is fierce and He calls each of us to fierce faith—a faith that won’t lose, fierce faith with an all in, wholehearted devotion. This is what the writer to the Hebrews meant,
It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. (Hebrews 12:1~2 The Message)
Too often I awake in the morning full of regret, self-pity, and discouragement—parasitic sins. But I’m choosing to believe that the fierce faith of Jesus can be activated in my life. These days, I’m studying Jesus, reading through the gospels again to see how He did it. I am asking God daily for His fierce faith.
On the Road,
For deeper teaching on “Fierce Faith,” join Steve on our first men’s spiritual boot camp, The Wholeheart Advance, September 10-13th. For more information and the early discounted registration:
For more information on Pastor Steve Holt and The Road: