What code will you live by?
When I was a kid, my oldest brother used to bet his friends that I could “beat up” their younger brothers. At first, I tried to make friends with the “challengers” that were brought to our yard. Looking back on it now, I realize how futile my efforts were. I’m sure the “challengers” had been pumped up with antagonizing propaganda before they ever got to me. So I fought, and fought, and never lost. Later, while playing sports I got kicked out of games for throwing a punch at someone that I felt shouldn’t still be trying to tackle me after I had thrown the football, or a pitch that I felt came too close to my ribs, rather than the bat. A few gang fights, and riots later; I was pretty much a seasoned fighter. I have a few scars to show for my efforts, but besides that, I came out of it all pretty much unscathed.
Later, in life, I spent a few years working as a cowboy in Wyoming. My job was branding steers, helping to break horses, and dehorning / castrating calves. At the end of the day, I washed it all down with shots of Yukon Jack, chased with beer, while shooting pool at the local watering hole.
When I began sailing, there was no challenge on the seas that I feared. The more treacherous a path through a tricky reef,the better.Making way through extreme foul weather or visiting some seedy dive when I made landfall, it didn’t matter to me. It was all good, and I reveled in it. Courage, if you can call it that, came easy to me. Women were a prize to be taken, and I took. My pride was the fact that no one could out drink me. I crewed for a skipper one time and overheard him tell the other crew that he had never seen anyone drink as much Rum as me. The crew agreed, and I felt good about that.
Many a time I thought to myself, what am I? Am I a cowboy, or possibly a modern day pirate? Maybe I’m just a common scoundrel, thug, and womanizer. Perhaps I''m a sociopath or a psychopath? When Christ re-entered my life and I gave my all to him, I was given the answer. I was a lost sinner. No better than many, and worst than a few. My past life was an easy one. Anyone can be what I was. The memories of the times spent aren’t much of a “treasure” though. Friends that committed suicide,or died in car wrecks while stoned or drunk.Watching friends marriages fail, and their children lost.Some suffered drug over doses,others were sent to prison while their families were left behind hurting, and having material possesions taken.
Now that my vision is clear, I see how little courage it took to be what I was, and how much more courage it takes to step out desiring to be known as a Christian in a sinful world. To know the love that God has for you and me,and that he sent his only son to die on the cross for our sins, is all encompassing. To strive daily, to be more Christ-like, and try to live your life by the instructions he gave us through his word, the Bible, is what real courage is about. I often fall short, but I never give up the goal. The path of destruction is an easy one, with little, to no reward. The path of righteousness, with the promise of an eternal Heavenly home is a hard one. Which one will you choose?