“Count them happy who for their faith and their courage endured a great fight.”
This was inscribed on a Charleston statue in honor of the Confederate defenders of Ft. Sumter 1861-1865. But when I read it, I didn’t only think about blue and gray uniforms, or redcoats and colonists, or Yanks and Brits against Nazis.
I thought about being “surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses” as we endure this great fight of faith. It is a battle. It does require courage and faith. And, if rightly grounded in truth, it does make us happy, even when it costs us our lives. But what are we fighting for?
Hebrews 11:1 says faith is believing in things hoped for, and evidence of things yet seen. So we do well to KNOW what we are “faithing.” What is it that we are hoping for, what unseen thing are we banking our whole lives on?
Sure the church answer is, “heaven.” But that sounds almost a little too scrubbed clean. Too far off. We need something that is up close and personal. As close as a bullet whizzing past your head. Certainly in those sweat-soaked, heart-pounding moments, you have to KNOW what it is you’re risking your whole existence fighting for.
“I have come that they might have life to the full,” Jesus declared. And when He said it, the impact was as rousing as a mud-soaked soldier lifting a tattered flag and yelling, “FREEDOM!” What we battle for is Freedom. Freedom to live in Christ in all His fullness. Unhindered. Not one day, but Today. His power revealed in us to love, to heal, to live as He did. Christ in us is truly the hope of glory that we live and die for.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,
and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.