My favorite commercial is a Geico ad where a patient on a couch says to a former drill sergeant therapist, “And that’s why yellow makes me sad, I think.” The ex-drill sergeant replies, “That’s interesting, you know what makes me sad? You do! Maybe we should chug on over to mambi-pambi land where maybe we can find some self-confidence for you, you jack wagon!”
Sometimes we don’t need sympathy. Sometimes we need someone to say to us, “Hey! Stand up! Be strong! Trust the Lord!” Like when Paul said to the Corinthians:
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)
When Christians go through tough times, we should weep with those who weep and show sympathy to those who suffer, even as our Great High Priest sympathizes with us in our weakness.
Yet there are times we should exhort our embattled brothers and sisters to get up and keep fighting the good fight. When Israel was poised to enter the promised land Moses charged them:
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:6-8)
Moses was talking to a ragtag, insignificant people about to go up against nations far more powerful than they were. Yet he tells them not to be afraid of these mighty foes, not because they were strong, but because their God was strong. They were to be courageous because the Lord promised to go with them and never forsake them.
Moses says the same thing to inexperienced Joshua, about to assume the leadership of Israel. He says, “Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed.” Why? Because the Lord “goes before you” and “will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.”
So we too should encourage one another to “act like men,” because our mighty God is with us and will never let us down.
So be confident in the Lord and in his mighty power! No matter what you face, don’t be dismayed. Don’t give up. Don’t give in to discouragement and unbelief. Get up! Stand firm! Act like men!
photo by Jeff Kubina