Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 1 Peter 2:16-17
Many Protestants remember with pride the "Here I stand" words of Martin Luther.
In our age of compromise and concession, the example of a lone individual who is willing to stand before insurmountable odds and remain faithful to conscience and the doctrines of Holy Scripture is one which every believer ought to faithfully follow.
For those of you who feel that way, and who also believe the age of commitment is over, I would encourage you to look to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Faithful readers of the Daily Devos will remember how, not so long ago, I shared with you how the school had felt biblical quotations did not belong on the message whiteboards, which hang outside cadets' rooms.
If so, you will also recall how, after a complaint had been made, it took but a few, short hours before that scholar's whiteboard was wiped clean.
Now that action did not necessarily please the non-school person who had made the complaint on behalf of some cadets, but the school felt good about how they had handled things, and the books were pretty much closed on the incident.
The important words in the above sentence are "pretty much closed."
You see, the Air Force Academy teaches their cadets many things. Along with offering the standard fare of college courses, the Academy instructs its students on topics like ethics, loyalty and duty. Hopefully, somewhere along the line the students also learn to think for themselves.
That doesn't mean they don't know how to take orders. They do. But one of the great strengths of the American military has always been the ability to identify orders which are immoral, unethical and unconscionable. In this particular case, many of the cadets recognized the school's position was a violation of their constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech and religion.
Wishing to show their dissenting position in a most respectful way, some of the cadets, indeed, many of the cadets, started to take action. Before too long Bible verses started showing up all over the campus. There were Old Testament verses and New Testament verses. There were short verses, long verses, prophetic verses, and verses which defied explanation as to why they had been posted.
It was a "Here I stand" moment.
Look at the life of the Savior and His apostles; read through a history of the early church, and you will find many such "Here I stand" moments. These folks didn't go out spoiling for a fight. On the contrary, they preached a message of peace, of hope, of forgiveness, and salvation through the Savior's sacrifice. Even so, they frequently found themselves facing antagonistic groups that demanded they recant or retract scriptural truths.
That was something they, and we, could not do. At such moments the Lord's faithful always take a stand and make a witness to the power of their faith and the joy they have in Jesus. Such a stand can often be costly, but it is still the right thing to do.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in thanks to the Savior, may I be faithful in my witness and powerful in proclaiming the joy that comes in having Him as my Redeemer. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries