Stand and Take Heart

by | May 7, 2024

You are the light of the world, a light in the darkness. If we’re not standing on the Word of God and living confidently as his children, our light can go dim. Doesn’t it seem like the light of the Church is going dim at an intense hour of combat?

We are called to be filled with the Holy Spirit and be his light in the world—not to run and hide, not to live in paranoia, not to be anxious and fearful.

We live in the context of spiritual battle, but the Lord—just before his Passion—said, “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me . . . in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn 14:1, 16:33).

A lukewarm Church has nothing to say to a dark world. We don’t need a big Church; we need a Church that’s alive, believing, has the light of Christ, and is willing to stand for Christ and die for Him. Jesus is shaking the tree to help us not just drift along, worldly and indifferent. Because He loves us, He is allowing us to experience what we’re choosing. God needs a purified Church in love with Him and courageous in loving our neighbor.

With lukewarm faith, the devil can deceive us to believe we can’t overcome him. It’s a lie. The King dwells in you, and the devil is scared to death of Jesus Christ.

The flesh is a fallen dimension of our lives that says, “My will be done—not God’s will.” Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus subdues those drives. The Spirit puts them to death slowly as we keep saying yes to Jesus, reading Scripture, receiving the sacraments, and walking in faith and service. He’s purifying us. The saints show how much purification we can experience in this life. They don’t go straight to heaven because they are born superstars, but because they are forgiven sinners who understand how radically they’ve been forgiven and how big God’s love is, and they sold out for it. Jesus is going to present all of us to the Father purified. Let’s get it all done here if we can, rather than in Purgatory.

The world is waiting for us to stand on the Word of God and live it with all our hearts, and with great confidence be the light we were meant to be. The resistance that’s growing is going to make it harder to live in the days ahead. It’s going to require us to be clear about being faithful witnesses to Jesus so that we can take up the promises and call of God. Here are beatitudes people don’t discuss much: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven” (Mt 5:10-12).

When we’re persecuted or falsely mistreated, we should jump for joy (Lk 6:22-23). This requires an eternal perspective, with our hope in the hands of the living God. We must love even our enemies because the love of God—not fear—flows through us. The Lord has an assignment for us and wants us to live in great courage, which is the willingness to sustain a wound in the defense of what is true, good, and beautiful. “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 Jn 4:4)—that’s the reason we’ll be able to do it.

This article is condensed from Peter Herbeck’s talk at the 2024 Lift Jesus Higher Rally. It originally appeared in Renewal Ministries’ May 2024 newsletter.

About the Author

<a href="" target="_self">Peter Herbeck</a>

Peter Herbeck

Peter Herbeck is the vice president and director of missions for Renewal Ministries. For more than thirty years, he has been actively involved in evangelization and Catholic renewal throughout the US, Canada, Africa, and Eastern Europe. Peter is a co-host for the weekly television program The Choices We Face. He also hosts the daily radio show Fire on the Earth. He is a frequent conference speaker, has authored When the Spirit Comes in Power and When the Spirit Speaks, and has produced CDs and booklets about discipleship and life in the Spirit. Peter and his wife, Debbie, have four children and eleven grandchildren, and reside in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


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