Dearly beloved: I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming, and his kingdom: Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. But be thou vigilant, labor in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil thy ministry. Be sober. For I am even now ready to be sacrificed: and the time of my dissolution is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day: and not only to me, but to them also that love his coming.
2 Tim 4:1-8
Two points: dying for one’s faith, and sound doctrine.
First, dying for one’s faith.
Today is the second day of what’s called Passiontide–the two week period that bridges Palm Sunday. This is the nitty gritty of the Lenten fast, the home stretch for some people. I remember giving up meat for Lent for several years, and being somewhat excited that I could taste it again come Easter Sunday.
Would we choose to die for this fast, for what it represents, for Who’s name it is done it? Or would we bend, concede–its only a little white lie. Before you answer so quickly, consider this:
Right now in Ukraine, people are dying. There’s been economic sanctions put in place that are maybe doing something in Russia. But the world continues to drink Russian oil.
While we may condemn what is going on in Russia, keep in mind that many countries in that list continue to support a war paid for with oil.
Oil companies are drug dealers. We are addicted. Our comfort fuels that addiction. Our “comfort” keeps us locked in the idea that we need to continue to use.
Our addiction is fueling a war of genocide.
Second, sound doctrine.
Based on what our faith teaches us, we have a duty to evangelize. Now I don’t believe that words are always the best way, but sometimes they’re necessary. Actions, however, tend to speak louder–except when they do not match with the words, the meaning. This is the argument of many non-Christians who point out the hypocrisy of many faithful; that the actions don’t meet the words, that the riches don’t meet the value placed on poverty.
Do we endure sound doctrine? Have our ears become itchy? Have we heaped leaders around us to help us reconcile our truth, our dependencies, our lies?
What would our faith demand, especially in the face of what is going on in Ukraine, or in the face of what is going on with our own poor?
Jesus wakes up. He looks around at the world, knowing that in less than two weeks, He will undergo the suffering and death that has been a pinpoint in His consciousness since He was a child. He knows that, in the midst of that pain, He will take on all of the sin of humanity. Billions and billions and billions of people’s worth. He knew all that and still endured, and died, and passed through the eye of the needle to return.
Would we have that kind of courage in the face of those who would deny our faith? Do we?
Do we have that kind of courage to do what must be done, even in the face of overwhelming discomfort?