Voicing an opinion as a believer is never the “in thing” to do. I’m for women’s rights and equal rights, but society is dictating I can’t be against late-term abortion. I believe in border security. That must mean that I despise people, or I must be a bigot. Praying in public or saying the name of “Jesus” offends people as well.
The answer? We need to fearlessly deal with culture. A.W. Tozer writes, “A scared world needs a fearless church.” I think all of us are dealing with anxiety in ways never seen before in society. Being courageous is a clarion call for Christians to bravely live out their faith. Whether it’s politics, work or standing against late-term abortion — we need to be brave.
Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, author and Fox News contributor Dr. Robert Jeffress tells the Christian News Journal we can thrive in an antagonistic world in 2020. I ask Jeffress point-blank in a nervous tone, “How can we be courageous in a hostile culture?”
He explains in a calming voice, it comes down to being ‘courageous.’
In his new book, Courageous: 10 Strategies for Thriving in a Hostile World, Jeffress walks us through how to use biblical strategies to have victory in a toxic world.
“We need to know what we are up against as Christians,” he says. “God has given us everything that we need to be victorious — thrive in the midst of these attacks. In this book, I’ve taken 10 survival tactics, whether it’s “Don’t Panic” or “Do the Next Right Thing” and I’ve applied that biblically on not only how to survive but to thrive in this hostile world we live in.”
Most of us are in a constant survival mode. How do we get out of survival mode?
The first step is not to panic, he shares. Survivalists say that in a dangerous situation, whether it’s an avalanche or a plane crash — only 10 percent of people will attack the situation, but 80 percent of people will freeze and panic. “I tell the story of Joshua when he panicked after he was told he was the one to fill Mosses’ sandals. God told Joshua not to be dismayed and do not be fearful for I am with you wherever you are.”
He adds, “Remember God’s promises and His presence. I had a woman who just recently read this book. She was reading chapter one, “Don’t Panic,” when she got word she got diagnosed with cancer–having three or four months to live. Her first instinct was to panic. She heard the promise of Joshua 1.”
[Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged; for the Lord, your God will be with you wherever you go.”]
Jeffress also talks about the moment in January 2009 when 150 airline passengers suddenly found themselves heading not for their destination, Charlotte, N.C., but the icy Hudson River in New York. “Sully” Sullenberger didn’t panic after both engines were crippled by birds, and all 155 people aboard survived. He stuck to his training and did not panic, bringing them all to safety.
The Bible is our training manual during life’s emergencies.
“It’s like training yourself in God’s word to know what you have to do to survive today before a threatening situation comes. That’s why it’s so important to saturate your mind with Scripture, [and] we saturate ourselves with Scripture for different situations we might be in.”
In our world, it’s simple to compromise, even if we’ve been believers all our lives. We can bend but not break when faced with elements of our culture.
“We can bend on personal opinion. But we can never bend when it comes to the truth of God’s word,” he says. “More and more Christians care about what the culture thinks. They are more concerned about attacks on social media, more than what God thinks of them.”
This can be about fighting for Christian rights, stopping late-term abortion, the indoctrination of sex in our public schools or praying on a football field.
When Jeffress was a student council member, he was requested to pray. He was warned if he prayed the name of “Jesus,” he would lose his position. This was when he took God at His word to be courageous.
He recalls, “If I compromise on this thing, when will I ever stop compromising? When I got to the end of the prayer, in the loudest voice [he prays]: ‘In the name of the One who came and died and rose again that we may have eternal life, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, Amen!’”
He didn’t lose his position; it was a flimsy threat. “Jesus said, don’t fear people who can only kill your body. I think that’s the key in being courageous — living your life to please God.”
What separates us is standing for truth and not hiding our heads in the sand but living as Daniel — courageously.
Mainstream culture despised Jesus, even when He was doing good for the people. The same holds true today. Whether it’s politics, standing against late-term abortion or praying the name of “Jesus” during public events– we need to be courageous as Jeffress urges us to do.
If not, what kind of life would that be to lead?
Corine Gatti-Santillo has spent two decades as an editor, investigative reporter and web content strategist; her work has appeared in The Christian Post, LifeZette and CBN, among other outlets. She is host of the program “Mom on the Right” on The Liberty Beacon TV. She and her husband, Rocky, live in Virginia with their infant daughter and yellow lab Maggie.