Valor by John Paul Jackson
By John Paul Jackson
The Bible says that in the last days, men’s hearts will fail them for fear. I believe we live in an era that has been prophesied for millennia.
The earth suffers all manner of geophysical, economic, political, religious, and war issues. We see fear mounting in the hearts of men and women across the globe. Truly, it is a difficult time – for those who don’t know God. However, for those who do know God, this time doesn’t need to be difficult. If we are willing, it could be the most exciting time of our lives.
In Judges 7 when Gideon finally realized there was no reason for him to be afraid anymore, the Bible says he “worshipped.” The Hebrew word used here for worship implies that you first bow in humility, then you stand to your feet, raise your hands and in a loud voice proclaim God’s glory. That is a very brave thing to do when you’re right outside the enemy’s camp.
But something had happened to this man, who had once hidden from his enemies in a winepress and described himself as the weakest person he knew. Essentially, he stood up, and in the face of all his fears, he declared, “You can’t kill me! Nothing you can do can harm me. I can defeat you. The angel has said it. God has shown it. I will do it.”
Fear and Faith
It is difficult for fear and faith to exist in their fullness in the same place at the same time. Both are the belief that something that hasn’t happened is going to happen. Fear is the expectation of something bad, and faith is the expectation of something good. One cancels out, or neutralizes, the other, and one or the other is going to exist as the plumb line of a person’s life.
Fear produces a desperate survivalist mentality. We dare not help the person next to us because if we do, we might fall off the cliff ourselves. The more self-concerned and self-focused we are, the fewer people we impact, because all of our effort and energy is consumed with ourselves. Gideon was hiding in a winepress! What impact did he have on his community while in a winepress?
Yet it was there, in the winepress, that God met him and proclaimed him to be a mighty man of valor. The winepress was not his destiny, though he clearly thought it was. Instead, God called him a hero, and a hero is what he became.
Out of Weakness Made Strong
The people of God are not born strong. We become strong:
“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle.” – Hebrews 11:32-34
Out of weakness, God’s people are made strong. We become valiant in battle. We don’t start out valiant – we become valiant.
The enemy has created a realm of fear to keep us shackled to inaccurate images and concepts of who we are. But God wants to take you and raise you up as a hero. He wants to take the “impossible” destiny He has written for you and bring it into existence.
I will never forget what the Lord once spoke to me: There is no limit to what I can do if you can restore hope in the heart of the people.
Faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). What do you hope to become? Who has God called you to be? The day is coming when you, like Gideon, will stand before your foes and declare, “You are defeated!”
John Paul Jackson