Want Some Courage?
I press on toward the goal for the prize
of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus—Philippians 3:14
In some respects, we know the men we’d like to become. For one, we’d like to be courageous for God, not simply surviving these lives, but living boldly in them. Well, we absolutely can (Romans 8:31-39). The thing is . . . it’s hard. We’re easily distracted—by our drives for achievement and advancement and accumulation. And we’re easily made afraid—that we’ll be embarrassed if we act boldly for God; that we’re not qualified to stand with him; or just that we’ve never done it before and don’t know how to start. Yes, it’s difficult becoming courageous and, actually, it’s meant to be.
God didn’t create two types of men—some cowardly and some courageous. No, he leaves the cowardice/courage decisions to us. That said, we cannot simply choose for courage and instantly become courageous any more than we can instantly become . . . say . . . orators or outdoorsmen. If we want to become either of those, we must practice. We must start small and fail and succeed; we must work and learn. So it is with courage. We become courageous men by practicing courage, by accumulating experiences, small at first, of actually being courageous.
So, there are two types of men, but it’s those willing to practice and those not, resigned instead to lives of safety. The good news, brother, is that becoming the former doesn’t require an inordinate amount of time or a major lifestyle change. It just takes a bit of resolve.
Okay, so what do we do?
Practice. Do something. Don’t overreach (and set yourself up for failure); but don’t reach too short either (and render your efforts pointless). Choose in the middle—something intimidating, but not overly. Here are some suggestions: face a phobia; spend time with someone the rest of the world avoids; serve in a way you’ve never served before.