“Be strong and courageous… for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”— Deuteronomy 31:6
There is a very famous quote from former President Teddy Roosevelt that says,
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.
“So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
This quote has been used over and over again to teach about perseverance in the face of judgment from others. But it also has a very powerful application to the Christian life because Scripture promises that in this world, we will be hated, scoffed at, and criticized for our beliefs.
Yet in the face of this resistance, we persevere, knowing that at the end of the day the credit belongs to those who strive valiantly and dare greatly even in the face of uncertainty and criticism.
That’s the kind of life Jesus lived. And it’s the kind of life He calls us to live, too. Don’t be a critic; get into the arena and strive valiantly!
Pray and ask God to give you the courage to strive valiantly even when others may criticize you.
Questions for thought
Think of a time when you stepped out in faith and were criticized for it. How did it make you feel?
What are some ways you can strive valiantly for the faith today even in the face of criticism?