Remember the classic movie, Wizard of Oz? One of the characters that made us laugh was the Cowardly Lion. If something went BUMP, he would jump. He was always afraid and lacked the courage to face, well, anything. It may have been comical, but no one wants to live in fear.
We need courage. Nothing is accomplished without courage. Courage is the ability to move forward despite our fears. Franklin Roosevelt said it this way, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”
In the Bible, we see a clarion call for courage. The people of Israel are about to enter the Land of Canaan. They weren’t warriors. They had no idea what they’d face after they crossed the Jordan River. Yet, God says to their new leader, Joshua, “Be strong and courageous!” We read that powerful phrase not once, not twice but three times. Instead of fear, God wants us to be courageous!
If you are like me, there have been times we identify more with the Cowardly Lion than Joshua. God doesn’t want us to be “fraidy cats” in the midst of all the upheaval in our culture. He wants us to face the challenges with courage. Here are three reasons why we need godly courage.
- Courage helps us take a stand.
Many feel that only the radicalized left are free to share their opinions. Fear has silenced the majority. We need the courage to speak up, not to offend, but to make a difference.First and foremost, we must be willing to openly share the gospel. It is only Jesus that can change our hearts. He is the answer to the tensions we are facing in our culture.
We also need to be anti-racist. We must call it out and change it, whenever and where ever we can, even among our closest friends, and stand against the Marxist-like extremists and support our law enforcement as they resist the anarchy and meaningless violence.
- Courage helps us change our minds.
Admitting we are wrong is not a weakness, it’s courageous. Yes, we can be wrong. We must confess our sins and shortcomings. Courage allows us to be teachable. It takes courage to lean-in to the uncomfortable places.It takes courage not to be defensive or dismissive. We must be active and honest in learning about prejudice and discrimination. If my behavior is damaging someone else, it’s on me to recognize what I’m doing and to stop doing it!
- Courage helps us see a better tomorrow.
Fear makes us fatalists. Dan Rockwell wrote that “Courageous leaders have double vision. They see the world as it is and as it could be.” Fear sees the problems; courage considers the possibilities.God is doing something right now. People are re-evaluating what is essential in life. Churches that are willing to take risks are well-placed to see the kingdom move forward.
BEFORE YOU GO
The phrase “Be strong and courageous!” does not stand alone. It is linked with the promise that “the Lord is with you.” Paul Tripp says, “We are called to remember who we are (someone who has been touched by the transforming grace of God) and who He is (a God of awesome power and grace) and step out to look for opportunities to light what has been dark through actions of love, mercy, justice, reconciliation, peace, and compassion.” This is not a time to be cowardly. With the Lord with us, we can and must be courageous!