Saturday, September 6, 2008

You're Someone's "Tank Man"

Last Sunday, Craig preached the sermon and it was based on Philippians 1:27-30 in which Paul talks about holding fast to our faith, being citizens of heaven, and not being intimidated by our adversaries. He even shared a childhood story of how he was bitten by a dog while trying to flee from him on his bike. Needless to say, he was afraid and intimidated by that dog after that incident, and didn’t want to ride his bike past the dog’s residence again. Though, one day, his friend insisted that they go that way, and sure enough, there was that dog. His friend urged him to stand his ground and not show his fear. Running would only give his power away. The dog came up to them, sniffed around, and then left. Then, they rode their bikes without any trouble from that dog.

Craig urged us to stand our ground when faced with persecution. He cited another example by telling us of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests in China. Some may know what I’m talking about, but for those that don’t, here’s a YouTube video to illustrate the courage and bravery of the unknown man who stood in the way of the tanks that were attempting to silence the message of the students who were taking a stand:

That video illustrates a powerful point. Sometimes, it only takes one person to stand up to injustice in order to start a whole revolution! One person’s courage can inspire more people to take a stand as well. It reminds me of a quote by Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Of course, there is often a lot of risk and persecution involved in helping to liberate others. Doing the right thing can be costly, but it’s worth it! And, you might be the very example that someone needs to see in order for them to have the courage to step out in faith themselves. Sometimes, I think about how altar calls at church are like that. There are lots of people that want to come to the altar for prayer or healing, but they are afraid to be the first to step out. Though, once someone is bold enough to go first, others follow once someone decides to be courageous enough to lead and set the example.

Who is looking to you as their example? Craig said that we may be someone’s “tank man.” In fact, as Christians, I think we are ALL tank men!! We are supposed to step out and stand up for what’s right. We aren’t supposed to sit idly by as everything sacred gets stripped away from us in this world. We are to live out our allegiance to Christ in our actions, not merely our words. We are supposed to be salt and light and living our lives for Christ as a testament to the goodness of our Lord. How else will a person see and know that God is loving and good if we don’t model it for them? Like the saying I once heard, “You may be the only Jesus someone ever sees” or “the only Bible that they may ever read.”

I pray that all may see and read good things about Christ as they look at my life. I’m not perfect, and I have my flaws, but I do the best I can. I pray that my life can help others see “the life” in me. May God’s grace and peace be with all of you!!

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