Spiritual Heroism Grows Out of Ordinary Christian Living

By Tom Gilson Published on September 1, 2018

You and I are going to have opportunities to live out our faith heroically in the next several years. I could be wrong — I hope I am — but I believe there are new faith challenges in our future. I want to be ready for it, and I know you do, too. And on one level, I’m convinced it’s simple. All it takes is everyday Christian faithfulness today.

A friend of mine showed the simplicity of it all as she was losing her life to breast cancer, slowly but surely, at age 35. My wife and I would go to encourage her, and we’d always come away feeling we were the ones who’d been encouraged. Someone asked her how she kept up her joy. She said, “I’ve been seeking to live the Spirit-filled life since I became a Christian, and I’m just trusting God now the same as always.”

She lived it and she proved it: To be prepared for heroic Christian faithfulness, practice everyday Christian faithfulness.

Ordinary Christian Living Prepares Us for Heroic Christian Living

I think of Barronelle Stutzman. She’s a florist who serviced gay customers but not gay weddings, and has been subjected to crushing penalties for it. I met her at a religious freedom discussion. She’s no firebrand; in fact, she spoke as little as possible, preferring to let her Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys tell her story instead.

Spiritual Readiness Logo - 400She never set out to be a lightning rod for gay hatred. She never planned to become a symbol for Christian conscience. I got the distinct impression instead that she was used to simply doing the right thing and trusting God with it.

An elder missionary once told me, “You never get past the basics.” You never graduate from prayer, daily time in the Word, fellowship with fellow believers, studying the truths of the faith and living a life of trust and love. The good news there is that you don’t have to be an elder missionary to do what they do. Just live the basics.

Do the Right Thing, Trust God, Be at Peace

The test, when it comes, may be in the form of challenging your belief. For that, just start in on the basic discipline of learning how to explain why you believe. Even if it’s just a little at a time.

Or the test may come in the form of an ethical challenge, as it did with Mrs. Stutzman. On that, one of the best messages I’ve ever heard was also one of the simplest. Its three simple points were: Do the right thing; the rest is up to God; be at peace. Steve Douglass was vice president of Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru) at the time he gave that message. But it isn’t a mission-agency-executive message, it’s a normal Christian living message. It applies at any point in our lives, and it will help prepare us for any future.

Grow in the Basics Through Practice

Of course we grow through practice. Those who are ready for “solid food” (mature Christians, that is) are the ones “whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14)

So if we know how to trust God as we do the right thing filling out our income tax form, we’ll know how to trust Him doing the right thing when the boss asks us to fudge the numbers on the report. If we practice doing the right thing then, that will prepare us to do the right thing if the day comes when someone threatens our homes or livelihoods.

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It’s simple, yet not everyone does it. That passage I just quoted from Hebrews followed right after this stern warning: “Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.” (Hebrews 5:12-13)

Whether we’ve got especially challenging times ahead or not, none of us wants to remain children. We can prepare. Spiritual heroics are about living the ordinary Christian life, and keeping at it no matter what.

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  • Juan Garcia

    I’ve always believed that real heroes are those who just show up, day after day

  • Ray

    I thank God for the stand of the Stutzmans. They are a gift to America. We need more like them.

    • Chip Crawford

      With all due respect, are there more than one involved? I only hear of that one woman, standing alone it seems, with church and friends.

    • Jim

      You mean the woman who likes to discriminate against gays? What a great human, not.

      • Up_Words

        “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

        Who is discriminating against who? —And within whose eyes? Within Hitler’s Germany, refusing to assist a Jew seeking assistance in escaping the country would have been hailed (by the government) as noble, and assisting, as criminal. Ms Stutzman was clearing her conscience, while seeking to help the Homosexual Community recognize the personal danger of that lifestyle before God (Lev. 19:17). How the government defines right and wrong does not determine, for the Christian, what is noble and good. Even though our highest court (the Supreme Court) now backs perversion; Someday, as with Hitler’s Germany, a day of reckoning will come. Sober Christians who love our nation prefer that we not have to undergo what Germany did, in such a day of reckoning! Even so, the day of reckoning will come, and then we will see who is noble, and who is not.

        • Jim

          Nope. Pure nonsense.

        • Trilemma

          Who is discriminating against who? Hitler discriminated against people who are Jews and suffered the consequences. Ms. Stutzman discriminated against people who are gay and suffered the consequences.

          • sodomites are discriminating against Christians, because they don’t know what marxists do to those who have outlived usefulness. Do you know?

          • Jim

            Nope. Proof? Nope.

          • A strange sneer. Instead of screaming “proof” like an ego barrier, address what I say and speak in complete sentences so I know what the conversation is.

            It annoys me to have to click to view the conversation just to see what you are trying to dodge with non-replies.

          • Jim

            Provide anything to back up your nonsense. You can’t. Your posts are a barrage of nonsense. Good that you’re annoyed.

          • Again, complete sentences

          • Jim

            Please provide evidence to support your statement.

          • That you should use complete sentences?

            Ok. If you do not use complete sentences (ie address what I am actually saying) I cannot tell what you are replying to without having to open the thread and read my previous response that you are now dodging.

            If you refuse to address me at all, then why should I have to repeat myself?

          • Jim

            Provide evidence to support your nonsensical claims of police and teachers.

          • It is in the john jay report you keep mentioning

        • Jim

          She refused service to a gay couple. She broke the law. No sympathy for bigotry

      • Bryan

        Jim, You comment is completely ignorant of the facts of the case: She served the customers who sued her for several years without complaints. She refused to do a specific event and referred her customers to a competitor who would do the event for them. (In any other business model that is a proprietor’s choice and not an issue for public litigation.) For most people that’s fine. If you don’t want my business, you don’t have to have it. But for some, particularly it seems in the LGBT community, that is not good enough. You could ask why that is because a lifestyle choice has not been a protected status, until recently. And the reasoning behind making it protected is shaky at best. It seems pretty obvious that she doesn’t like the attention, the expense, etc. and would rather simply do what she started out doing.
        It’s funny that when someone writes against the censoring of conservative view points by the large social media sites, it is generally other conservatives who chime in that Facebook, et al are private companies and can do as they wish. But when Mrs. Stutzman chooses to operate her business the way she sees fit, it’s a crime of the worst kind. What she did is, at its most basic, no different from what Facebook and the others do when they ban conservative content or demonitze the content. Yet she is vilified and they are praised. That dichotomy alone should be enough to prove that reasoning behind these issues is seriously flawed.

        • Jim

          Nice rant. She broke public accommodation laws and discriminated. Maybe we should go back to a time when black folks were denied service due to the color of their skin

          • Bryan

            “Nice rant” = code for I can’t think of a valid argument or come up with something more coherent. Laws are not the same as morals. You have pointed this out in your own comment. We should not “go back to a time when blacks are denied service due to the color of their skin”. That was a time when what was legal was not moral. We are in such a time now where it is legal to create a law that violates an Amendment to the Constitution. But it is not moral to violate a person’s conscience. The worst part is that there is such an easy and obvious solution: find a different private business that wants to cater to your event.
            It’s one thing to discriminate against someone because of the color of their skin, ie who they are created to be. It’s different to choose to not to celebrate or participate in an event. An event is not the definition of a person. It is not their identity. It is important to them, no doubt. My wedding was very important to me, but it is not who I am.

          • Jim

            Nobody asked her to participate in anything. Just like the baker, it was fee for service. No participation necessary. I’ve followed this from the beginning. She broke the states laws. She deserves no sympathy for being a bigot.

          • Bryan

            She broke the state laws. I’m not arguing that. That doesn’t make that law any more right than the laws allowing discrimination against blacks. Congrats on following the case from the beginning. You not the only one. I’m glad that the one she serves doesn’t treat her as she deserves, according to you or Him.

  • Lisa

    Great article. Hope we are brave enough to do the right thing under pressure.

    Most people go along to get along.

  • Trilemma

    “Do the right thing; the rest is up to God; be at peace.”

    Good advice. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to know what the right thing is. Did Mrs. Stutzman do the right thing? Some Christians say yes. Some Christians say no.

    • Up_Words

      Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.
      (Romans 14:22-23)

      Have you ever stood up for what is right, in a difficult/dangerous situation? If God places it on YOUR heart to stand up, then, before God not doing that is sinning against God. It is not what people think that matters for the Christian. God’s opinion trumps all. Check it our in prayer (& the Word) for yourself. Whatever is not of faith is sin.

      • Trilemma

        If Ms. Stutzman had made the flower arrangement for the same sex wedding in faith that she was doing the right thing, would she have sinned?

        • If you were to make a flower arrangement for a satanic ritual, you would be complicit in that.

          • Jim

            It wasn’t a satanic anything. It was a legal marriage. No gods needed.

          • Marriage is a bond between one man, one woman, and God to protect mothers so they can raise children.

            It is a Sacrament and therefore a Grace of God.

            The devil worshipers (your group) has an anti-Sacrament to insult every Sacrament. The anti-Sacrament that attacks marriage is pretending to marry two men. That is where this abomination against God and mankind originates and why you are pushing it.

          • Jim

            Your sacraments mean absolutely zero. No gods needed for marriage. Gays can legally marry in all 50 states.

          • Sacraments are the Graces of God.

            One cannot redefine why God has established, let alone would it be possible for two men to marry.

          • Jim

            There’s no proof of your gods existence. Gays can and should be able to marry. Nothing supernatural needed for marriage

          • God is the uncreated, uncontingent Prime Mover.

            Marriage comes from matrimony, which means “protection of motherhood.” It is a Sacramental bond between God, one man, and one woman.

          • Jim

            Nope. Marriage is between a man and a woman, two women or two men. No god needed or necessary for marriage

          • It is a Sacramental bond before God to protect motherhood. Therefore it is between one man, one woman, and God until death.

            Sacramental means it is done by the Grace (i.e. Divine Will) of God, and therefore man cannot affect it.

            sodomites cannot procreate and cannot get married. The devil worshipers (whatever they call themselves this week) have always pretended to marry men to other men in order to mock the Sacrament of Marriage. The first time this happened it immediately prompted the deluge.

          • Trilemma

            Are Christians who pay taxes that are in part used to pay for abortions complicit in those abortions?

          • No, God does not command what is impossible. No way to know where your money is going and it is totally indirect. Nobody pays taxes for any reason but the government forcing you to at gunpoint.

            If someone robs you and used your money to pay for satanic rituals, you are not complicit in that either.

            you are advocating for people to bake cakes and arrange flowers to honor the devil’s hatred of the Sacrament of Marriage.

          • Trilemma

            If the government can force you to pay taxes that help pay for abortion and you’re not complicit in abortion then when the government forces you to bake cakes and arrange flowers for a same sex wedding then you’re not complicit in the same sex wedding either.

          • When you pay taxes that is to the government, what the government does with it from there is on the government.

            The case here is for the bakers and strangers to explicitly support a satanic ritual. If the sodomites just bought a premade cake/arrangement without stating intentions, there would be no support of the evil on part of the baler/arranger.

        • Bryan

          That would be between her and God and should not be up to you, me, or any other body to decide. If she could do it with a clear conscience, there wouldn’t be an article. The question though shouldn’t be whether it is a sin, but should she be allowed to make that determination and act on it thus without the interference of the government?

          • Trilemma

            I agree that what she believes about same sex marriage is between her and God. But it’s up to the government to determine to what extent she can act on those beliefs. The government has to balance her religious rights with the civil rights of others. With the government, anti-discrimination laws typically trump actions based on religious beliefs.

    • Avoid satanic rituals like sodomites insulting the Sacrament of Marriage.

      The Truth is eternal, immutable, indivisible, AND knowable.

      Let me quote Venerable Fulton Sheen about your satanic attempt to obfuscate here:

      The final argument for modern broad-mindedness is that truth is novelty and hence “truth” changes with the passing fancies of the moment. Like the chameleon that changes his colors to suit the vesture on which he is placed, so truth is supposed to change to fit the foibles and obliquities of the age. The nature of certain things is fixed, and none more so than the nature of truth. Truth may be contradicted a thousand times, but that only proves that it is strong enough to survive a thousand assaults. But for any one to say, “Some say this, some say that, therefore, there is no truth,” is about as logical as it would have been for Columbus who heard some say, “The earth is round”, and others say “The earth is flat” to conclude: “Therefore, there is no earth.” Like a carpenter who might throw away his rule and use each beam as a measuring rod, so, too, those who have thrown away the standard of objective truth have nothing left with which to measure but the mental fashion of the moment.

      • Jim

        Satanic rituals? Lol! Sodomites? Too ridiculous.

        • Yes, what other interest would you have if your dark master wasn’t involved?

          • Jim

            I have no masters. Especially made up masters.

          • Again, why is it that you serve the devil without question?

          • Jim

            Your devil is a figment of your imagination

          • So you worship and do the bidding without question for something in my imagination?

            Then how do you explain you being the devil’s puppet for the decades before you met me?

          • Jim

            Your devil is nothing more than a boogeyman created to scare people into following your god. Both are imaginary. You’re very entertaining.

          • I have yet to hear your explanation for how you parse feeling the devil is imaginary, and you deseperately and unquestioningly serving the devil with every breath you take.

            It is a common for the damned to deny their dark master exists as a kind of defense mechanism to gloss over the mistake they made in damning themselves. Why do you do it?

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