No Apologies

My oldest son, James, graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1999. He is still serving today as an active duty Naval officer and I am so proud of him, as I should be.

So it is probably no surprise that I was very interested in the graduation speech that President Trump delivered this past week at the US Naval Academy. Even though I was overseas on ministry in Israel at the time of his speech, I watched it live in its entirety. It was exciting to see the President speak directly to the graduates with great words of affirmation, support, and affection. Then, after his speech, the President stayed and personally shook hands with all 1100+ graduates.

I would like to focus for a moment on one statement that President Trump made to these graduates. He said, "We will not apologize for America."

As I watched him say this, I thought about myself, not just as an American, but as a believer in Jesus. I thought about how many times over the last 47 years (since I came to faith in Christ) I have failed to take this stance when it came to the Lord Jesus and His Gospel: times when I had opportunities to proudly stand up for the Lord and for the truth of the Bible, and I shrunk back in embarrassment and cowardice.
All this brings me to the incredible declaration by the Apostle Paul (Rom 1:16) - "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe, for the Jews first and also for the Gentiles."
I believe that this verse should represent a call to arms for all of us who name the Name of Jesus. I have felt terrible about those times I was ashamed of the Lord, and I have asked Him to forgive me for those times. I have tried to analyze why I behaved this way, and I believe that I have discovered the answer. 
The answer, I believe, is found in John 12:42-43 "Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Jesus, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."

No matter how I slice it, my ashamed-ness keeps coming back to this very issue: at that moment, I cared more about what people thought of me than about what God thought of me. Pure and simple!
So I have tried, with the Holy Spirit's help, in these last few years, to do better--to not worry so much what people think, since the Bible says that "each of us shall give an account of himself to God, not to people." (Romans 14:12)

And I want to call upon all of us who are Christ-followers to aspire to do better in this area as well--to be able to declare "We will not apologize for being Jesus people."

To close, please allow me to remind us all of the words of the Lord Jesus in Mark 8:38 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

I'm not 100% sure exactly what this verse means for us as Christians, but, whatever it means, may the Lord help all of us not to be on the wrong side of it!