Recently, we were bombarded with the headlines regarding 7 Australian Rugby players who stepped down from playing a game because of their convictions regarding wearing a rainbow jersey. For this stance, the world went crazy, telling them what they should and shouldn't do, because after all, 'it is only a shirt.' But is it really only about wearing a shirt or not wearing a shirt?
If we profess Christ, our whole lives are supposed to glorify Him, whether we are at our job, in a store, at an appointment, making a contract or in a game. In the book of Colossians, chapter 1, verse 10, Paul prays the believers would "walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."
Walking the walk not just talking the walk
What does it mean to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel? Well, we are to do what pleases the Lord and sometimes walk the higher and more difficult road. It means not doing what the world thinks is right, but rather, what God says is worthy and good. We find further instructions on how to practically walk this way in the book of Colossians chapter 3, verse 5-9, "Put to death, therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and covetousness, which is idolatry.... You must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie." This is by no means an exhaustive list but helps to set the bar of what a "worthy life, pleasing to God looks like."
Taking a stance can cost something
Eric Liddell was a famous Scottish runner, who chose to stand down at the 1924 Olympics. His main race, the 100m sprint was scheduled for a Sunday, and being a Christian, his conviction was that he was not to run on the Sabbath. He was favoured to win the event and the nation against him. They saw their hope for the prized gold medal dashed and they begged him to just comply this one time. He did not. He was determined to honor the Lord and walk worthy of Him even if it meant the whole nation hated him.
He withdrew from his event and began to train for another,one that would be held mid week and therefore he could compete in. He chose to walk worthy of the Lord, even when the whole country hated him. This is one story in which we get to see the end. We know that Eric Liddell, by God's divine grace went on to amazingly win the 400m run, even though it wasn't his speciality.
They will hate us, that's a promise
Not all stories end with an ending like Eric Liddell's. Sometimes the world is going to hate us for our Biblical stance. Jesus even told us in Matthew chapter 10, verse 22, "and you will be hated by all for my name's sake."
We won't always know the end result of our stance for Christ on this earth, however we are promised that if we deny him on earth he will deny us in heaven. It isn't about being the hero in the story, it is about doing what is worthy and pleasing to the Lord, even when it costs us everything. Christ is worth it!
When we look at our life, can we say, "I am truly walking in a manner worthy of the Lord?" or are we making too many compromises? Yes, I know we can never attain perfection, but we are called to still strive for it. Are we willing to make compromises such as: watch the show that has that sex scene, date an unbeliever, lie to our boss so we don't get into trouble, wear immodest clothing, hold a pride flag because you don't want to be singled out or lose your job, or not give to the church because we want extra spending money?
Life is all about choices. We need to examine ourselves and make sure those choices are motivated by a desire to love and please the Lord, so that we would walk worthy of the Lord. Every day we have opportunities to put on or not to put on that jersey and to walk in a manner that is worthy of the Lord.