Wholeheart in the Arena

By September 9, 2015Christianity

The writer of Hebrews in chapter twelve makes an interesting statement, “for consider Him [Christ] who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” (Hebrews 12:3). Hostility in Webster’s Dictionary means “unfriendly, opposition, resistant, and dissident.” Hostility from people is most often an attack upon your heart. (I’m not speaking of constructive criticism.) Hostile people want you to be less engaged, less forthright, and less confident.

Satan catalyzes critics and hostile people to steal your heart.

The enemy of our souls and his demonic powers use unfriendliness and antagonism to change the conversation of your heart. By changing the conversation of your heart toward a focus on the critic, the wholehearted follower of Jesus loses faith, hope, and love in the process.

Critics are often used to change the conversation of our heart. We lose God confidence if we listen too closely to our critics. Antagonistic critics rarely do anything significant themselves. Don’t listen too closely to them. Don’t engage with the critic. Theodore Roosevelt, one of my hero’s said it best in a speech he gave on April 23, 1910 in Paris France. Here is an excerpt from his speech, “Citizenship in a Republic,”

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. 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; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Consider Jesus. He didn’t give his critics access to his heart. Keep taking risks. Stay wholehearted. Don’t hang out with the timid and cold that only point the finger. Go to battle with those who love you and care about you.

On the Road,

Steve
Steve is now on Twitter @pastorsteveholt

For more information on Pastor Steve Holt and The Road:

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