Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Backbone? Or Wishbone?

Recently, while reading through a stack of bulletins, I came across the following pithy statement under the heading: Sentence Sermons:

“Many people fail in life because their wishbone is where the backbone should be.”

There is a lot of truth in that short statement, as it establishes the truth that each one of us must have conviction to be successful in any endeavor.

It is especially important that this truth be recognized in the effort we make to live for Christ. To get to heaven for eternity, we must work diligently. We have to be industrious and committed or we will fall short.

The Lord’s parable of the sower establishes this truth well. “Behold, as sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell …on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away” (Matthew 13:3-6).

Jesus, in explaining the parable, said of the stony ground, “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (13:20-21).

A lack of root is the same as the lack of a backbone. Both refer to the virtue that each Christian must add to his faith to be successful (cf. 2 Peter 1:5). The word virtue, used by Peter in that passage, literally means “manliness or valor.” It has reference to the courage one must have to stand by his convictions, and never waver in his faith. It is one thing to believe in God, and accept the gospel while the message is fresh and the zeal is burning brightly. It is another thing to maintain that zeal and dedication in the face of such difficulties of life which manage to dilute the faith of so many.

Many words in scripture call us to have a backbone. Endurance, perseverance, patience, steadfastness, and temperance to name a few. God’s word clearly calls us to a lifetime of faithful service. Jesus said to His disciples, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22).

Each of us needs to recognize the importance of a backbone in living the Christian life, that we might obtain the eternal reward promised to those who believe. Then, we may say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).