Life is easy when everything is going your way. When you are not in the heat of the testing, it is easy to have faith and confidence that you can stand in the face of whatever might come your way. Words are cheap, so they say. It’s even easy to believe in “The Cause” from the seat of comfort and security. But what if the call did come to test you to the very core of your heart, to overcome what you have never faced before? What if the most crucial challenge was set before you, one that demanded nothing less than your very life? What if it was the most consequential mission ever conceived? How would you respond?
First comes the call, the challenge. Then a qualifying criterion must be set forth, something that clearly spells out all the demands and requirements. The course has to be laid out, showing the starting qualifications, the objective to be achieved, and what it will take to endure until the very end. As the details are manifested, the candidate can begin to evaluate the cost. He can weigh all the options, the factors, and each and every possibility. He can determine whether the end result is worth the cost, to see whether he is really willing to face the challenge.
Every challenge is accompanied by a reward. According to the clarity that one has, he can judge whether the reward is worth the cost. And according to that understanding, if he is honest, he can foresee whether he will be proven a Coward or a Conqueror.
Will you face the challenge?
What if it was the Son of God who set the challenge?
What if the goal is making His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven?
What if the call is to love, just as He loved?
What if the cost is everything… yes, even your own life?
The one who only sees the goal becomes the Conqueror.
The one who conquers will inherit all things, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:7)
The one who only sees the obstacles is the Coward.
But for the cowardly and unbelieving… their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
First you must hear the call, the challenge…
Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me. (Mark 10:21)
… whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:33)
Be saved from this perverse generation. (Acts 2:40)
The one who heard the call (by grace), understood the call (through faith), and walked away,1 proved to be the Coward.
But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:22)
Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.” (Acts 13:46)
He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. (Matthew 10:37-38)
The one who heard the call (by grace), understood the call (through faith), and paid the price, became the Conqueror.
Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.” So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s sake, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time —houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions – and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:28-30)
For “by grace, through faith” one is saved if he is actually saved through the faith that came by grace. To pay the price that He said to pay is not “works.” It is what the faith that came by grace would persuade you to do, lest anyone should boast.
Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)
So what makes the difference between the Coward and the Conqueror?
If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. (John 7:17)