All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
The eleventh chapter of Hebrews reminds us of the stories of men and women who lived in the warp and woof of the trials of life, but instead of giving in to the cultural norms of compromise, kept their eyes on heaven and lived exceptional lives because they made decisions to trust God in all the hard places. These are our Christian heroes--the ones who made the story of the Bible worth knowing, the men and women who set a pattern for us to follow.
Heroism starts with a heart shaped by a passion to love and serve God, through actions, stewardship, relationships and obedience.
A Hero deals with his sin, pettiness on a regular, daily basis.
The heart of a hero takes instruction and believes in accountability and humbly works on his weaknesses.
The heart of a hero is in the habit of serving others as the self-realization of his duty to give as Jesus gave. And when a sacrifice of ultimate giving of courage or laying down life for another comes as a choice in the moment of his life, the hero has already been imagining this to be his service of worship to God--to obey, love, give, submit, fight the spiritual battles as they appear.
Heroism is learned at home from watching models of parents loving, giving, having courage, refusing to complain about hardship, confessing sin, asking for forgiveness, practicing having integrity from a proper appreciation of Jesus' righteousness.
When a family culture has no heroes to inspire, no models of integrity to capture their imaginations, the level of dignity, decency and nobility declines.
But when a mom or dad determines to live the most noble life possible, to be the most like Jesus in every situation, to choose to live righteously, the child's soul is planted with seeds of truth and nobility, the child's appetites grow from tasting goodness and excellence in the oxygen of his home, and the vision in the child's heart is to want to become the best person for Christ he can be, because this is the truth lived in his home.
That is how important the work of home is today, tomorrow and forever. What is lived and cherished and taught determines the future of any culture, family or individual.
May all of us capture a vision for being a hero committed to Christ's purposes every day until we see Him face to face.