On April 23, 1910, Theodore Roosevelt delivered an inspiring and powerful speech in Paris, France. The title of his speech was Citizenship in a Republic. It was actually a very long speech, and it consists of 35 pages. However, there was a popular passage from this speech that we ought to take note of. It is found on page seven and is sometimes referred to as “The Man in the Arena.” It goes like this:
It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly; who errs,
who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who DOES actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in a WORTHY cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst,
if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
No doubt; those are words of wisdom from a man who is known as one of the greatest leaders of the United States.
How about us? Are we the man in the arena or the man who just watches as things happen? Are we the doer or the spectator? Do we couple our words with action or do we simply make a statement and not follow through?
As Christians, we ought to be the man in the arena. In this life, we face insurmountable difficulties. We face hardships, adversities, and destitution. And to make things even more challenging, there will be people who will put us down and try to extinguish the flame of our zeal for the work of God.
But in all these, we can have the confidence that God will be our refuge and strength. We read in Isaiah 40:28-31:
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
THE CREATOR OF THE ENDS OF THE EARTH,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might HE INCREASES STRENGTH.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and NOT be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
So don’t let the people outside the arena discourage you. You know why? Because you are NOT alone. God is with you. And that is more than enough for you to be steadfast.
He promises divine help. He promises to be with you through the storms of life. He promises to fight your battles for you.
So be at rest.
Just do what you must and let God be your unbreakable Strength.