There is a very popular hymn titled, “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”. There is a verse in this hymn that goes: “Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the trumpet call obey; forth to the mighty conflict, in this his glorious day. Ye that are brave now serve him against unnumbered foes; let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.” This verse is telling us to be brave and serve God against unnumbered foes. That might be easy for us to think about, even sing about, but not so easy to do. We live in a world where it is becoming less and less “popular” to stand up for Jesus.
I was reading in Acts 24:10-16 how Paul did just that — he stood up, stood up for Jesus! Beginning in verse 10, “10 Then Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered: “Inasmuch as I know that you have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself, 11 because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 And they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting the crowd, either in the synagogues or in the city. 13 Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me. 14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. 15 I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead,[c] both of the just and the unjust. 16 This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.”
Paul had been unfairly and unjustly accused and held by the Jewish leaders for standing up for Jesus. He was rescued by the Roman army from the angry Jewish crowd, but still was held in prison for years while the Roman leaders determined what to do with him. These verses we just read were from Paul’s own defense of his actions in front of the Roman leaders. It was these leaders that would determine Paul’s future. Would he be released or would he be convicted and put to death? Knowing the future that might await him, it would have been very easy for Paul to deny Jesus and possibly save his life. Fortunately for us, Paul was never one to take the easy way out. As he stood before “the judge”, he proclaimed his faith in Jesus Christ loud and clear.
It got me thinking. How many times are we in the same position as Paul? When we are around our family, friends, co-workers, class mates that would like to convict us for following Jesus, do we also “stand up, stand up for Jesus?” Or, is it just easier to go along with what they want us to say, how they want us to act so that we do not upset them? Just like Paul, there should be certain areas of our life that are off limits to those around us. Mainly, our relationship with Jesus Christ. How many times have we been distracted from spending time with Jesus, going to church, attending bible study because our “friends” have something better for us to do? When those offers come, do we “stand up, stand up for Jesus”?
We all need to be like Paul and remember that there is no greater responsibility as a Christian than to live out the life that we are called to lead. When we stand before our accusers, we must have the confidence and faith in God to take a stand for him, regardless of the consequences. I suspect that Paul’s accusers and “judges” knew exactly how Paul was going to respond. Paul had made his faith very clear to all around him. Can we say that we are like Paul? Do we take a stand for Jesus or are we to busy standing with those around us? When given the choice do we make God the priority in our life?
I pray for blessing for you today on your Journey!