Sometimes, we expect heroes to be ready and just waiting to “be heroic”. However, reality shows us a different picture. Take Jonah, for instance: he wasn’t a willing hero (Jonah 1:1-3), but his actions saved an entire city (Jonah 3:6-10).
Jonah didn’t rush into a burning building, or climb a tree to save a cat. After a couple of “aquatic excursions”, he just spoke God’s truth to others.
While we usually think of heroes by their actions, sometimes a hero just says the right things at the right time. (Maybe you call these people “good with words”, or “well-spoken”, but to those needing hope or counsel they are probably called “heroes”.) See Matthew 12:36-37 for God’s viewpoint about how important our words are.
But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Matthew 12:36-37 NASB
Sometimes, speaking the truth can be uncomfortable. When our friends are taking our Savior’s name in vain, or bad-mouthing someone else, it’s tough to step up and either stop the conversation or steer it in a healthier direction. It’s much easier to remain silent, or just join in, but let’s face it: heroes are those who step in and do the right thing – who try to stamp out evil – not those who just try to fit in. We will sometimes need to be the one who will stand up for Jesus (or another person) when those around us won’t.
In other situations, a friend of ours needs to be challenged to make a change. This is particularly tough for guys; I can personally attest to that. However, the fact is that you probably have friends who will keep self-destructing if you don’t challenge them to do better. Similarly, your buddies are going to have a lot harder time keeping their commitments to quitting their bad habits without your encouragement.
Remind yourself how powerful your words (and your silence) can be by reading passages like James 3:1-12 and Proverbs 10. Then, look for the chance to use what you say to be a hero to someone who needs it.
I’ve taken some pretty significant steps in my life, just because someone challenged or invited me to. Who knows where in your life today, there is a friend who only needs an invitation to take the next step – whether that is another step of faith, of service, or of forming a good habit. Look for that opening, today.
For more reading, see also:
A version of this devotion originally appeared at fcccanton.com , as a Study Guide for the February 28, 2016 message, “Be Heroic”.