“When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.”
The quote from Billy Graham is inspirational. And it’s true; when we see someone drawing a line in the sand for a cause close to our hearts, we are inspired to do likewise. When we see courage, we are inspired to be courageous. Our fear slips away and we are strengthened to stand up for our convictions.
Tim Irwin, the author of Derailed states that, “Courage is not being unafraid. It’s about choosing to do the right thing under difficult circumstances. Courage emanates from our resolute beliefs and core convictions. It follows that when we are not grounded at some foundational level in our beliefs and convictions, we will not be courageous. Courage never exists in a vacuum. It results from our internalized beliefs and convictions about how our lives should best be directed toward some noble end.”
If we don’t really have any strong beliefs or core convictions, why in the world would we ever take a stand and risk embarrassment, social standing, our relationship, our job, or even our life? It is much easier to roll with society’s ever-changing opinions than it is to firmly take a stand. In fact, the foundation of courage is the anchoring of our beliefs and convictions.
This begs the question: If you already have or you want to develop strong beliefs and core convictions, from where do they come? The latest public opinion poll? Your preferred political party? What those in your peer group think? As you well know, these are ever-changing. In a well-known passage of the Bible, Joshua told the Israelites they had a similar decision to make – where would they put their trust? In other words, who would be the foundation of their strong beliefs and core convictions?
After reminding them of the countless blessings given and faithfulness shown by God, in chapter 24 of Joshua he said, “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” He drew a line in the sand. He told them to get off the fence.
After we define and develop our strong beliefs and core convictions, there are four main steps to being courageous. I can’t think of a situation where all don’t have to occur.
Steps to Courage
1. That’s not right.
There’s something very important to us that’s not right or not how it should be.
2. I’m convicted.
We are internally and deeply convicted, as this does not align with our strong beliefs and core convictions.
3. It’s going to cost me.
There is a cost to action because people, things, or situations oppose us. Even more unsettling is that well-meaning people will give us advice to the contrary. As previously stated, the cost could be anything from embarrassment, our social standing, our relationships, our job, or even our life.
4. I have more strength than fear.
In order to act in a courageous way, our strength must outweigh our fear – more on this next month.
- Watch the movie Courageous (Trailer at: http://www.courageousthemovie.com).
- Reflect on these questions: What determines right and wrong in your inmost being? Is it the ever-changing opinions of others, or the unchanging principles of God?