You will find out what you believe when you are challenged on it. When you hear a new perspective, when you see different values, when you are mocked for what you have held, then two things start to become obvious: 1) What do I believe? and, 2) Do I have the courage to hold on to this conviction and, if necessary, take a stand for it?
You should expect to face opposition to fundamental truth about God, His gospel, and His Word. It usually isn’t difficult to stand up for God inside the four walls of the Gospel Hall. But when you, with citizenship in heaven’s kingdom, interact with the real world, you are an exile in enemy territory. The days are evil (Eph 5:16). You are walking in a land of false gods. You are like Esther. Do you have courage like she did (Esther 4:8-5:2)?
Last month on this page, we saw that the providence of God is one of the themes of the book of Esther. But this sovereign God, Who needs no help, often selects willing, courageous vessels to carry out His purposes, like Esther, and like you, if you choose to stand up for Him.
God wanted to rescue His people from a wicked enemy’s determined assault. Esther had been thrust into an opportunity to help and was urged to take advantage of her circumstances to rescue others. Surrounded by people who were raised differently than she, some of whom hated what she represented, Esther was challenged on what she believed. I mean, what she believed. Thankfully, Esther was convicted about the value of God’s people. She calls them “MY people” (7:3-4), and she risked her life for them (4:16). This is courage. Do you have convictions about the value of God’s people?
Your convictions need to be your convictions (brilliant, I know). No doubt, Esther learned from the example and values of her cousin, Mordecai. This man had courage to stand for what was right when no one else would. And I mean “stand,” because when everyone else buckled before Haman, Mordecai stood tall. While everyone else bowed to show reverence to a wicked man, Mordecai found the courage to stay true to the conviction that such an honor was reserved for God. Holding a conviction out of loyalty to God can sometimes be a lonely position. This world will pressure you to bow to its idols. Sometimes you’ll need to stand alone for God. It will take courage. Now, Esther saw Mordecai’s courage and conviction, and that was great … for Mordecai. But when Esther was all alone and the pressure was on her in an “evil day” (Eph 6:13), it was what she believed and what she valued that mattered.
Sometimes, it will be the same with you. Remember, “God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power” (2Tim 1:7), so take courage and “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Eph 6:13, ESV).