It’s easy to look back and say you would have been on the right side of history. It’s easy to say you would not have complained in the wilderness; you would have been with Joshua and Caleb. It’s easy to say that you would not have fled when Jesus was arrested; you would have been with John and Mary at the foot of the cross. It’s easy to say that you would have stood with Athanasius or Luther or Bonhoeffer.
But Jesus warns that hero worship is often a sign that you would have hated the same people if you actually lived when they were alive:47 “Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.48 “In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs” (Lk. 11:47-48). Of course the Bible remembers faithful saints and encourages us to do the same, but that remembering should drive us to action, obedience, faithful risk taking.
Of course there are plenty of fools and jerks and charlatans in the pages of history as well. They were confident in their causes and left trails of trouble behind them. And maybe they claimed to have their verses, like – I’m just being persecuted for righteousness sake, like the prophets.
So how do you tell the difference? How do you tell if you are actually stepping out in faith, taking risks for Jesus, and standing against the world for the truth? Or how do you tell if you’re just being headstrong, naïve, unteachable, foolish, an ungodly troublemaker? The answer is the Word of God. Know your Bible. Read your Bible: Genesis to Revelation. It is your food, your sword, your wisdom, your light, your power.
As our culture descends further into the pit we have dug for ourselves, you can be sure to hear otherwise nice and sane people, who claim to know and love Jesus, say things that are in complete odds with Scripture. That’s mean, that’s unkind, that’s unloving, that’s harsh, that’s disrespectful, that’s unjust, and the only safe place will be hiding in the Word of God. God’s Word is true. It does not change. It does not vary. It abides forever. Just because sinful men sometimes read their Bibles wrong doesn’t mean that God’s Word has become less true.