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Text Illustrations
Let’s look at a video clip that really drives this point home… [VIDEO CLIP]

{From the movie “Facing the Giants” --scene where player does the “death crawl” the length of the field. Available online.}


I don’t know about you, but when the coach put the blindfold on because he didn’t want his player to give up before giving his all, I couldn’t help but think of the scripture which says “we walk by faith and not by sight.”


I’m sure you noticed how the boys on the sidelines went from joking around and casual on-looking to being fully engaged and watching closely what their friend was doing on the field. And you can go ahead and admit it too---didn’t you find yourself suddenly intensely involved in what was happening on the screen? Here’s something you can be sure of---just as those other players were watching their teammate on the field---people are watching us. You can mark it down and count on it. Skeptics and unbelievers are watching us. The spiritually curious are watching us. Other believers are watching us.

[BACK TO BLANK SLIDE # 20]

And we need so much to understand that how we endure hardship can greatly impact those around us positively or negatively. We need to realize that how we handle hardship can either significantly increase our tragically reduce our witness to the non-Christians around us. In fact I believe that that’s one of the reasons God allows bad things to happen to Christians. God knows that when Christians endure hardship well, others notice and their receptivity to the message of Christ dramatically increases. I’m convinced that it’s not some kind of fluke that in proportion to the world’s population the church reached its greatest numbers during this period of persecution. No, it happened that way because people were watching and what they were seeing---the faith, the unquenchable hope, the courage and the endurance of so many Christians while they were under attack---it all worked together to open doors for the good news about Jesus.