Revelation 21:8

on May 29, 2012 in Ze Bloggy Goodness with 11 comments by

You guys probably know this, but if not, I’ll tell you now. I’ve got a thing for courage. In fact, I wrote about it for 31 days.

I mean, I’m not always brave, in fact, I probably lack in courage pretty often. I can certainly tell more stories of my own wimpy behavior than I can of acting in bravery.

But I just have this thing in my heart that loves courage. I love brave people. I love brave moments.

Sometimes, if you want me to be real honest, I think things like a death-defying walk on a tight rope across a deep gorge is fake courage. I mean, it takes guts, but that guy isn’t changing the world. He’s not even changing someone’s life.

There’s a huge project I’m working on that I can’t tell you more about yet [but I will… don’t you worry] and I’m getting to talk to lots of people who are making REAL differences in the world. Not walking across tight ropes- but walking into strip clubs to bring hope to those employees. Not jumping out of planes, but jumping into the messy lives of other people and staying there because of love.

I think that stuff, loving when it is hard, going when it is uncomfortable, standing when you’d rather sit, is the definition of real courage.

. . . . .

Last week, as I was planning for a speaking event, I was reading through Revelation 21. [I teach out of Revelation a lot because I know everything about the Bible and I’m totally qualified to do that.] [Just kidding. I was verse plucking. Get serious- I’m not brave enough to teach Revelation. I’ll let Kay Arthur handle that.]

I got to Revelation 21:8, where it lists the characters who will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur [HAPPY TUESDAY!] and it took my breath away.

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars “”their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” (NIV)

Wait. WHAT? The cowardly are listed with THE MURDERERS?  

I sat there stunned for a few minutes. I kinda wanted to throw up. Being a wimp is this serious to the Lord? I prayed, whispering words to God that expressed my confusion and worry and regret and honest desire to be right with Him and do right by Him.

. . . . .

Saturday, as my friend Ellen and I sat at the Sonic in Jackson, Tennessee, on our way back to Nashville after a speaking event in Bolivar, I relayed this verse to her, how I came about it, and how it had shocked my system for the last few days.

And as we waited on our tater-tots and cherry limeades, we talked about whether we understand the Bible at all, whether we are even sure of what this religion asks of us, wondering if there are deep parts of our faith that we aren’t hearing and believing and acting out of.

I don’t know what this revelation from Revelation means to you. I don’t know what it means for me yet either. I just know that the Bible is true and this verse is true and I probably take Christianity too lightly. 


  1. Mollyanne
    posted on May 29, 2012 at 6:51 AM  |  reply

    I know this is a serious post, but I couldn’t stop thinking about this little song my friends and I would sing to each other in youth group whenever we caught someone in a lie/exaggeration.
    To the tune of “Frere Jacques” (Are you sleeping/where is thumpkin):
    Revelation, Revelation
    Twenty-one eight. Twenty-one eight.
    Liars go to hell, liars go to hell.
    Burn, burn, burn. Burn, burn, burn.

    You’re welcome.

  2. posted on May 29, 2012 at 7:53 AM  |  reply

    Wow! What a great revelation. Thanks for sharing. Something to think on.

  3. Amy
    posted on May 29, 2012 at 10:17 AM  |  reply

    I love this post. Really. It’s my favorite kind…people sharing where God is opening their eyes shared with both seriousness, real life and a touch of humor.
    That said, as cowardly as I can be, reading that scares me…of course.
    So true that I don’t think we take our faith seriously enough.

  4. Megan
    posted on May 29, 2012 at 12:15 PM  |  reply

    Right now, I see God calling me to be courageous in my life. That isn’t always an easy call. There’s a certain period of time where you can wrestle with what God is calling you to. Why are you calling me this? Why are you asking me to make a sacrifice here? That kind of stuff. But there’s a certain point where you have to make a decision where you decide to follow God’s command or you don’t. I don’t think the wrestling is cowardly but going against God’s commands is.

    God’s call can be scary sometimes. Courage and faith are really good things to cling to. Now, I’m going back and rereading your courage series. (:

  5. Merideth
    posted on May 29, 2012 at 12:42 PM  |  reply

    My thoughts exactly Annie. I often read something and wonder how seriously I take Christianity. I wonder how much I really committed to the Lord really when I started this journey 20 years ago. It’s hard and scary.

  6. posted on May 29, 2012 at 1:24 PM  |  reply

    Let me just say, I’ve had more of these moments lately than I care to think about. Revelation. But I love that He’s constantly after us, pursuing us so we don’t settle for what we think is truth or religion. Good, freakin’ scary, system shocking stuff! Love you!

  7. posted on May 29, 2012 at 2:14 PM  |  reply

    Wow. I’m challenged.

    Thanks, Annie. I need my system shocked from time to time. I never want to stay stuck.

  8. Anna
    posted on May 29, 2012 at 2:59 PM  |  reply

    Good job, Annie. Isn’t it easy to read verses in the Bible about the big sins and secretly think, “Whew. Thank goodness that’s not me.” Then a verse like this one jumps out at you and on top of you….then we have to figure out what to do with it. Thanks for the push today.

  9. Ali
    posted on May 30, 2012 at 2:57 PM  |  reply

    This made me think of the passage in Revelation 3:16 which states, “So, because you are luke-warm, neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Often I find myself thinking how I should be more bold about sharing the message of God with others, yet fear of rejection lures me to a place of cowardice, time and time again. Still, I am confident and sure of my victory in Jesus.

  10. Nicole
    posted on May 30, 2012 at 9:27 PM  |  reply

    I believe this verse is talking about those who would deny their faith through fear. In Romans it talks about how we should not be ashamed of the Gospel that is Jesus Christ. If the time comes (and it happens on a day to day basis for some) and we are called to stand up and say what we really believe, will we deny our Lord through fear?

  11. Christie
    posted on Jun 04, 2012 at 12:22 PM  |  reply

    I listened to a Francis Chan talk on this verse a couple of years ago. Thanks for the reminder to be bold and not a wimp. Wimpy is so much easier. HELP ME LORD! Gosh I need it.
    In other news, I absolutely thought of the Liars Go to Hell youth group song as soon as I saw this post. For the most part, I wouldn’t consider myself a liar, so not so soul shaking as as the lead adjective of this verse…

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