Originally Posted by Mike Young March 2006
Men need more…. COURAGE.
Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines courage as follows:
Courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty.
I’ve always reminded myself and others, especially my sons, that courage doesn’t mean an absence of fear. In my mind, courage is moving forward to do the right thing in spite of the fear you may feel in a particular situation or circumstance. There are three key points in that statement. (1) moving forward (2) doing the right thing (3) in spite of fear.
Let’s take a closer look at each point.
Instead of moving forward, there is a natural tendency in many of us to be passive in the face of difficult situations.
Conflict avoidance is an easy alternative to actually getting involved in doing something. Often, we can convince ourselves that we are going to be defeated, even before the battle begins. Do you remember that ten of the twelve spies who went to check-out the Promised Land came back defeated by what they saw? They were inspired by the bounty, but the goodness was overshadowed by the hostile giants who currently held the land. Rather than move forward, they wished they had died in the desert and even suggested that they return to Egypt. Joshua and Caleb were the only two voices suggesting that they move forward. (Read Numbers 13)
Another problem with men, especially in our society, is that it’s often easier to take a short-cut than to do the right thing.
Sometimes it takes courage to do the right thing. I can’t tell you what the right thing is. Sometimes I struggle to know what to do. Here’s what I have learned. There is absolute right and wrong. I used to struggle with ‘grey areas’. Some challenges seem so difficult that it’s hard to discern, so I would convince myself, there is no clear way. Well, it may not be immediately obvious, but in God’s eyes, something is either right or it’s wrong. There is no such thing as being a little wrong. The tough part is living close enough to God for Him to help us discern what is right and what is wrong. Often, Satan makes things look right and desirable when they are really detrimental. Consider Proverbs 14:12, There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. We must be careful to do the right thing.
The final key is to move forward and do the right thing in spite of fear.
Fear often paralyzes us. Remember Franklin D. Roosevelt’s caution, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” We’ve probably all been in situations that required us to reach deep within ourselves to find the courage to face a particular situation or conflict. There are many times in a man’s life as a husband, father, son, brother, business owner, employee or supervisor when he must take action, even when afraid. (There is a caution here though. I know I’ve done some pretty silly things in my life just to prove I wasn’t afraid. In those cases, I wasn’t brave, I was stupid.)
In society today, we need men of courage. Paul called out the men of Corinth in I Corinthians 16:13, Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. That’s a wonderful challenge but where does one find courage? The disciples were encouraged by Christ!
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13
Would you join me in seeking to “be with Jesus” in such a way that others would recognize our courage, and it’s source?