Having What it Takes
Version 6 of the WAW (Who Are We?) story
In this version we see ourselves in Christ as finishers, having the stamina and courage to keep going through anything
Draft by Stan Nussbaum
Rephrase or rewrite as needed for your situation
Everybody wants a better world, right? And most of us would like to help build one, but do we have what it takes?
The first humans sure didn't. They fell for history's first piece of fake news! When an enemy of God says that God has ulterior motives for declaring that one tree off limits, they believe him and eat the fruit! They were in a world that couldn't get any better, and they made it a whole lot worse.
Their descendants keep proving that humans do not have what it takes to undo the mess Adam and Eve created. Instead we see the growth of corruption, violence, racism, and a lot of other things we are trying to get rid of to this day.
The amazing thing is that God showed humans thousands of years ago that it only takes one thing to fix everything. That one thing is to trust God, having the courage to do what he says even when it does not look right or feel safe to us. We also need the grit to get through the consequences.
Abraham shows us how this works. When God tells him to emigrate to an unfamiliar land, he does it. When God promises that this will become the homeland of a whole new nation that will descend from him, Abraham believes him. He even is willing to obey God’s command to sacrifice his own son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah, but at the last second God provides a ram to sacrifice instead.
Abraham sets the pattern of trusting the Real GOD, and many of his descendants follow it. Moses, David, Elijah, Daniel, and Esther all take incredible risks because they trust God. , believing that God will get them through, and he does. Others like Jeremiah come close to dying in prison because they took the risk of speaking the painful truth to the king, but God gives Jeremiah what it takes to endure the pressure without cracking.
Centuries later, Jesus takes things to a whole new level. He declares that the better world era is here; God’s reign on earth is beginning. He calls his whole nation to “follow him” even though he knows this will sound like he is starting a revolutionary movement. Finally in the Garden of Gethsemane, he faces the crisis of his life.
He says to God his Father, “I trust you. I am going to go ahead and do this your way, not mine.” That’s it! That changes everything. In that moment he shows that he has what it takes to undo the sin of Adam, Eve, and all the humans since then.
He still gets arrested, and his followers all run away to save their own skins, but he is not intimidated. He gets tortured but he still forgives. He keeps trusting God, showing the courage and grit of a true hero right to the bitter end.
But wait. His death is not the end. On the third day, God the Father brings his son, Jesus, out of the grave! God comes through again; the ultimate proof that he rewards his courageous followers who have what it takes to trust him even when it looks too dangerous.
When they see Jesus alive again, his spineless followers are stunned. After he rises to heaven to take the throne, Jesus sends his Holy Spirit down to live in them so they can show and tell that his power is the power that creates the better world everyone dreams of. And what happens? They face arrest, beating, jail, and even execution, but they have what it takes to endure.
Their grit is powerfully attractive, and the Jesus-centered movement keeps growing. It is still growing today in spite of the fierce opposition that Jesus predicted would come as we spread his message of the arrival of a better world. And it will keep growing until the set day when the risen Jesus comes back in person to show everybody, including us right here, that his messengers were telling the truth all along. The better world of our dreams will arrive in full.
Who are we? We are finishers. We will not give up because of fatigue or threats. We have what it takes to endure. Jesus’ Spirit in us gives us Jesus’ backbone.
And that’s why we live the way we live and tell this story no matter whether people love it or hate it. It’s our story. We live by it, and we are prepared to die by it. Jesus did, and look how that turned out!
Reflections on the meaning of the story, "Having What it Takes"
If you have already said, “I’m in! SYNC me!” Jesus has already put his Spirit into you. Now you have what it takes to endure to the end. So let’s get the party started, celebrating with a huge “Yes” to all five of these things:
Yes, God can be trusted 100% of the time whether we have obvious victories like Abraham and Moses or shameful suffering like Jeremiah and Jesus.
Yes, God’s whole plan revolves around the heroic courage and grit of Jesus to face the shame of execution on a cross. He calls us to trust him as sacrificially as he trusted God, his Father.
Yes, Jesus has put his Spirit into me to overpower my fears and give me the strength it takes to trust God no matter who tries to shame me.
Yes, I am living dangerously—forgiving everybody for everything like Jesus has forgiven me, and trusting God to honor me even if others despise me.
Yes, I will trust Jesus and his Spirit to give me whatever it takes to endure shameful and unfair attacks as unflinchingly as Jesus did.
If you have not yet said, “I’m in! SYNC me!” what else would you like to discuss before you would say “yes” to these things?
Jesus won’t force you in, but once you say yes, he brings you in. He shows you what your God-given mission in life is, and he gives you what it takes to stick with it. His Spirit moves into your life and you become a worthy spiritual descendant of Abraham, the father of trust.
That is what the rest of your life will be about—finding out what Jesus meant when he said, “Trust me! Follow me!” You won’t get to focus on protecting yourself from human shame anymore, but you will live more courageously and honorably than you ever could have lived on your own, and no matter what comes, you will have the peace God gives to those he honors.