Romans 1:16 (HCSB)
Sometimes standing for Christ means standing alone.
When Joe Namath was playing football at the University of Alabama, Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant was the coach. One day Coach Bryant called the team in for a meeting at the beginning of the season. He told them:
"This is a class operation. I want your shoes to be shined. I want you to have a tie on, get your hair cut and keep a crease in your pants. I also want you to be in class. I don't want no dumbbells on this team. If there is a dumbbell in this room, I wish he would stand up."
Namath jumped to his feet. Coach Bryant said, "Joe, how come you're standing up?You ain't dumb."
Namath replied, "Coach, I just hate like the devil for you to be standing up there by yourself."
I hope Bear Bryant saw the humor in that, and laughed with the rest of them. But when the topic is standing alone for Christ, it gets serious. Contrary to what our society says, you are not a dumbbell if you stand alone for Christ. It is an easy thing to confess Christ when our confession involves no sacrifice. But to live for Him when the culture, convenience or peer pressure tell us to be silent requires courage. If we really want to live for Him, sometimes we are going to find ourselves standing alone.
Sometimes we don't stand up for Christ because we are afraid of what others will think. We are afraid of being excluded from our circle of friends. We think others will not like us anymore, or they will think less of us. Standing up for Christ has nothing to do with us; it has everything to do with Him. We get our priorities mixed up whenever we waffle back and forth on what we believe to be truth.
I know a young pastor who has recently taken a very unpopular stand on a current issue. There was the very real possibility that speaking out would cause a lot of trouble for himself and his family. Yet he spoke out anyway, remaining true to Biblical truth. He has chosen to stand strong for Christ, even if he must stand alone.
We should be prepared to stand for Christ whenever and however it is required. The words of 1 Peter 3:15-16 challenge us at this very point--"but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame" (HCSB).
--Rocky Henriques, www.uticabc.com