Fortitude :: By John Lysaught

John 15:18-19, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

The world hates believers of Christ. Sure, there are some who just despise us, there are those who don’t agree with us, and there are those who are indifferent. Regardless, though, if the world is not of Christ, then they hate us by default because they don’t believe in the Truth we know and hold so dearly that we would be willing to give all for His name’s sake, even unto death.

Satan is the one behind this hate of us from this world. He wants to be God, but he is merely a fallen angel who opposed God. He is the root of evil in this world, and those who don’t follow Christ bow down to him as their leader. Even those who believe in God but don’t accept Christ are bowing down to Satan and follow the sinful path to destruction versus accepting the saving grace offered through Christ.

These people are blinded by Satan’s ways and don’t know the path of destruction they are on. They don’t heed the call of Christ to their innermost beings but hold tight to the world and the things of the world that satisfy their sinful natures. In their minds, the future is what they make of it, the desires of the world taking hold of their hearts and pulling them away from the draw of Christ.

Nonbelievers don’t want to surrender themselves to the will of God through Christ Jesus. To surrender self means to give up their fleshly desires that keep them grounded in the world and not to Christ. What they don’t understand is that by not surrendering to Christ, they have surrendered their souls to the evil one and his dominion. They believe self is more important and put their trust not in Jesus, but in the ways of the world, relying not on Christ but on the ways of the world for their perceived joy, sustainment, and future.

Eternity is an afterthought to the people of the world. They live in the now, and the future can wait another day. Destiny is what they make, for they are the gods of their own lives with no room in their hearts for God, who truly loves and cares for them, who always is reaching out to them with welcoming arms if only they come to Him through belief and faith in Jesus.

We who live by faith in Christ’s sacrifice and promise of Heaven through our belief, trust, and faith in His death and resurrection can have it pretty hard in this ungodly world. To do this, we must have fortitude in our Lord and Savior Jesus to help us stand firm through the trials and tribulations that the world puts us through and tries to snare us with because they want us to be like them.

Those of the world hate us for believing Christ is the only way to the Father, as Jesus told us in John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” They barrage us with evil words, shunning us, and trying to trip us up for knowing that Christ is the way to heaven and to having a loving relationship with our Father, who sent Christ as a baby to grow and eventually be our sacrifice for our sins, to make a way for us to have that relationship with Him. It takes fortitude on our behalf to resist and stand firm in the truth of our faith.

To have fortitude means not bending in our faith and belief of what beckons us to draw nearer to God.  It means standing up to others who oppose and try to lead us asunder from each other and our faith in Christ to lead and help navigate us through this world as we run the race for the reward of Heaven as our finish line.

When we meet adversity from our loved ones, coworkers, strangers, and yes, even weak professors of faith, we need to hold fast and not bend regarding our faith. We are not to try to smooth out relationships through compromise of our faith – or negating the importance of Christ in our lives and the truth he represents to us – to just save a relationship or to avoid hard discussions with others regarding the truth of Jesus. We must stand strong.

We live in a society where we are not to hurt other’s feelings and to not say things that would offend others, unless it is against our faith. People can say vile things outright or through vague comments to harass believers to keep us silent or to cause us to back down from our stance on truth. They tell us we are bigots, racists, haters, old-fashioned, and believe in a god that is uncaring or doesn’t exist. They tell us times have changed and the Bible and our faith is irrelevant to the world we live in now.

With such adversity facing us, it is no wonder that there are those who do keep silent and practice our faith in secret. It takes fortitude to not back down. It takes assurance in our faith and standing with Christ to face those who want to put forth disparaging language to shut us up, to try to make us cower in their arrogant misbeliefs of the truth of the Word of God and His saving Son. To cower to the bullies does not make us victims, but makes us seem weak in our walk with Christ and not fully committed to Him and His truth. We need fortitude to stand up to them.

It doesn’t matter how new or mature a believer is to have fortitude in Christ. It doesn’t matter if you have memorized verses or barely know the Word.  Having fortitude is not an exercise of knowledge of the Word; it is the knowledge of the saving grace of Christ. Whether one has known Jesus for an hour or decades, fortitude in Jesus is found in the heart, and it takes courage to oppose the opposition of the world that wants to destroy us through words and actions.


Grounded in Faith :: John Lysaught

No matter what happens to us, we are grounded in our faith in Jesus. Regardless of the trials and tribulations in life, we are grounded in our faith. We know what awaits us at the end of our time here on earth. We know that we have Christ as our means to the forgiveness of sin and to a relationship with God.

The unsaved don’t know the peace and rest they are missing in Jesus. They don’t understand how we can stand strong in the face of adversity. They say we worship a god that doesn’t exist. We know the reality of God and the reality of what He offers to those that are saved through grace and the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, which is forgiveness of our sins and a relationship with our Father and eternity with Him.

We will face tribulations and trials in our lives. Our faith in God helps us stand fast against adversity with a knowledge that He will never leave or forsake us (Deut. 31:8). We can stand against hate towards us and stand against the attempts of the world to destroy us. The world can do whatever it wants towards us and not affect us because we are grounded in our faith in God and His Son.

The world does not like us and what we stand for. We stand for the peace and love of God and the salvation offered as a free gift from Jesus (Eph. 28-9). He is the foundation (1 Cor. 3:11) of our faith and hope of eternity with Him. The world? Their foundation is sand on a cliff destined to fall to hell. The unsaved wallow in their ever-changing values and beliefs while ours is steadfast and true.

Truth for the world is whatever society says is truth. The truth of the world ebbs and flows with the whims of those in power and their version of the truth depending on the season. They hold tight to the lies of Satan through their worship of worldly things. They hate us because we don’t conform to the world. They make their belief in false truth to become facts to support their evil agenda.

The saved that are grounded through the Word of God are becoming a minority in this nation and the world. There is a declination of attendance in churches and the preaching of salvation from Jesus by church leaders. The Book of Acts shows us what and how a church should operate, and there is a falling away from the standards put forth in the Word. Churches now offer messages that tickle the ear and trade truth for feel-good messages that avoid the truth in the Word (2 Tim 4:3).

The Bible has some hard truths in it about salvation. Most don’t even talk about salvation and sin or the need for Jesus in their lives but give messages to make people feel good about themselves. People need to read the Bible themselves to test the words of preachers and to grow in their knowledge and understanding, to grow in their relationship with Jesus (Rom 10:17,1 Jn 4:1).

Being grounded in faith takes a lot of effort because we are at war with evil (Eph 6:12). Satan uses his influence on the world and society to disrupt the faith of the faithful and to keep the unsaved away from Christ. Satan knows the Bible better than any man and will twist and turn the message of God to his advantage, not ours. He is the father of lies (Jn 8:44), and we must be grounded in our faith to resist and overcome him.

When we are grounded in our faith, we can and will overcome the wiles of Satan (James 4:7). We can use the truth of the Word to stomp the lies he puts forth. It is through the power of the Word of God that we can keep Satan at bay in our lives. It is through our faith that we can hold tight to the promises of God, not the promises of the world.

The world offers tempting things to us. But when we are grounded in our faith, it won’t matter. Temptations will come and go but the Word of God is everlasting in terms of eternity (Ps 90:2). Will it be hard to overcome temptations at times? Yes, it will, but with a strong foundation in our faith, we can resist; and as our faith grows, our roots in God will run deeper so we will be able to overcome new and old temptations that overshadow us each day.

If one is not grounded in faith, if they are weak in faith, then they will be more susceptible to the lies of Satan. It is important to be more and more grounded in faith each day. We need to renew our minds (Rom 12:2) each day and pray to God to increase our faith. We do this not only through prayer, but through reading of the Word. The Word gives us everything we need to know about living in this hostile world. Everything the world throws at us is addressed in the Word.

There are those that say the Bible is outdated or made up. The saved know differently. They know that the Bible is true, timeless, and the lessons and guidance are just as applicable today as they were when they were written (1 Tim 3:16). Sure, the world has changed, but man has not. Man is still rebellious in nature. We inherited this trait through the fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve (Rom 5:12). Yet, as we are grounded in our faith, we can fight and resist this nature.

Satan will want you to explore the world and taste temptations. He wants man to fall and fail to such an extent that they won’t even recognize that they are sinning. Sin? Sin is everything contrary to God’s Word. He cannot even look at sin (Isa 59:2). Only through our repentance of our sins and acceptance and faith of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins (past, present, and future) can we have a relationship with God.

Don’t take your grounding in faith for granted though. Don’t be relaxed in this world. There is a spiritual battle going on all around, and we are in the thick of it. By neglecting our faith, we can slide back in our relationship with God. Yes, once you accept the gift of Grace through Christ’s sacrifice for your sins, you are saved, but it doesn’t mean to live life as you did before you came to Christ (Rom 6:23).

Once you are saved, you are a new creature (2 Cor 5:17); and with that comes a changed life. Life will change, and you will view the world through a new lens completely opposite of what you did before you accepted Salvation. Your view of life will be grounded in your new faith. Your reality will change from that of a sinner to a saved sinner. Your faith will support you, and you will be with God and His Son in eternity.

The Holy Spirit will guide you in maintaining and growing your grounding in faith (2 Pet 3:18). The Holy Spirit is our Helper sent by Jesus to aid and guide us in truth (Acts 2:38, Jn 15:6).  Being grounded in faith will assure you have the Holy Spirit to speak to you and give you the unction to live for Christ and avoid temptations that leads to sin.

Being grounded in faith comes through the acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins (Rom 10:9). Once you accept Him as your Savior, life changes. Will there be hard times?  Yes, there will be. But when you are grounded in faith, you will have and know that regardless of how or what you feel, God is there and our hope and faith in Him is not for nil.