By David Stahl

God cannot use cowards in His army and they will have no place in the Kingdom of Heaven.  In the Book of Revelations John tells us, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”  (Revelations 21:8)  I am amazed the company the word “fearful” keeps in these verses the, “unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone:” The word “fearful” here is translated coward and my friend no coward will make it to Heaven. If you are fearful or timid, if you cannot stand up for or stand your ground to what you believe in word or deed God will not allow you into Heaven.  Actions matter, but our words matter more to God when we say we are going to do something and then not do it. As Christians we must measure our words.  How many times have we said something not really meaning it?  Or how many times have we backed out of our promise because it was not convenient or we did not like the possible outcome or we were just afraid.  I have been there and know God is not pleased when we do not measure our words when speaking. In the Book of Thessalonians Paul equates the word “fearful” with being “feebleminded.” “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:14) This word really hits home to what the Holy Spirit is talking about. Someone who has a feeble mind (or feebleminded) is unstable, not committed, or dedicated in all their ways even though they think and say they are.  Their mind is feeble, sick, not well, or unhealthy.  Paul even goes further than John here; the word “feebleminded” is Strong’s #3642, fainthearted or cowardly. No feeble minded, fearful, or coward will make it to Heaven.  In the past I would plan for months with brothers to travel abroad in ministry, but as we got closer to leaving they began to listen to voices (of seemingly everyone) of people who put fear in their heart and not the voice of God who puts truth and knowing in our heart, thus they turned their back on what God wanted for their lives. Now please know I am not trying to beat up on my friends and brothers or make them feel bad, but I am trying to draw a parallel from a real world, personal experience (in a hope to prevent the loss of spiritual growth and development in lives) and how the word of God directly applies in this situation. The saddest thing though was they thought they were turning their backs on the trip, but in reality they were turning their backs on the work God so desperately wanted (and still wants to do) in their lives. I told (and they knew it too) them the next level of spiritual growth and maturity in their lives leads through a successful completion of this trip. They knew this from the start and voiced it to me time and time again, but in the end the projected work God wanted to do in their lives was not enough to entice them to get over their self image of who they thought they were in God, their fear of losing their family, their comfortable lifestyle for awhile, their ministry, and possibly losing their lives for the sake of Christ. Unless God can bring us to the place where we are willing to sell out totally (Jesus could not do this with the Rich Young Ruler Luke 18:18-25) where we are willing to put our life on the line then God cannot use us as He so desires. Getting over the fear of death is the last great hurtle and obstacle before we can abandon all for Christ. What else than our life is held in such high esteem? We would gladly give up our precious treasures and even other people, but when our skin is on the line our flesh scream, “I want to live and do what I want to do” even at the sake of spiritual growth and development.  God must be able to give our desire for life (both physical and spiritual) a death blow where we value more what God wants for us and our family than what we want for us and our family. Satan knew what he was saying when he said, “And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.”  (Job 2:4)  Make no mistake my friend when our skin is on the line (again I have been there) we will say (even make deals with God) and do anything to save our skin.  But there will be no cowards in Heaven all will be skinned by God.    

In the Book of Luke Jesus gives us His standard for those who would be approved or qualify for ministry. “And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26If any man come to me, and hate  (Strong’s #3404, to hate, pursue with hatred, detest) not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. 34Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? 35It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”  (Luke 14:25-35)  The word “hate” in verse 26 is the word we all know as hate. “Hate” means just that hate. Now Jesus was not saying we must detest our family to follow Him, but He was saying we must “hate” with a great passion turning our back on Him and others or not “bear his cross” (enduring life’s many situations and problems, our character shortcomings, and even sin areas in our lives) then we cannot be His disciple. Here the word “hate” talks about the intensity of the hatred and not the act of the hatred from our heart. The message Jesus is sharing in these verses is for us to count the cost BEFORE we embark!  To measure our words because words matter; our words speak of our integrity and character. Cowards have no integrity, they have no commitment, and would never think of losing something for someone even God. Please notice the end of verses 26 and 27 “cannot be my disciple.” We may have asked Jesus to forgive us of our sins and on our way to heaven, but that is NOT Jesus’ criteria for becoming a disciple.  Unless we turn our backs on the world and all (in favor of Him) in the world we will never be a disciple of the LORD.  Unless we endure difficult situations (like many hours sitting on plane) in our lives, deny our self of time spent with family, give up our “good life” of ease for awhile, or plainly lose whatsoever is asked of us so that God may win we cannot be His disciple.  There is a spiritual truth that most Christians have either forgotten or never heard, you cannot save yourself and someone else someone has to die, someone will have to lose their life.  John tells us, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be:  if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. (John 12:24-25) The word “hateth” is the same word used in Luke 14:26. In God if we love our life on earth we will lose our life for all eternity, but if we hate or deny ourselves while on earth we will find our life for all eternity. Losing come first, finding comes second. Not too many Christians want to lose their life, but this is another requirement to be a disciple of Christ.  God knows when He can get us to lose something of our self the loss makes room for more of His glory to be deposited within us.  This is why God measures our gain in Him not by what we add to our selves, but what we can lose of our self.  What of the world can we lose that is in us?  What of our carnal selfish nature can we lose so that we can be conformed more into the nature of Jesus Christ. Loss makes room in us for more of God.  The more we lose the more we gain in God. Then Jesus goes into counting the cost, measuring our words and actions.  Verse 33 wraps it all up, So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”  Again cannot be my disciple not that your sins are not forgiven and on your way to Heaven there is a huge difference.  If we do not count the cost (do not measure our words and actions) in God before we plan to do something we are like salt that has lost it savour not fit for the dunghill. You know God is watching our actions and listening to our words; whether they be salty (full of life in them) or unsalted (no life in them) and the production is based not on God’s abilities and power, but on our words and actions.  Are they full of life or do they leave a bad taste in the mouth of God, His people, and the world.  My friend there will be no cowards in Heaven only people of courage and faith in God. How gracious is God’s longsuffering and faithfulness?  The answer is only seen in the second, third, fourth . . . chance to grow in the “grace and knowledge of the LORD Jesus Christ” if not then we are cowards.