The Cultivation of Character:
Ever noticed that people will stand up for just about anything except for their faith?
Why is this so?
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
The courage to face adversity and opposition is one of the most difficult types of courage to cultivate. For it often only grows through the challenges of adversity. Faith, like our bodies, must be exercised regularly to stay ready and able.
As firefighters we risk our lives daily in numerous ways yet when it comes to having the moral courage to speak up for our beliefs we often shy away from the task. If we are honest, more of us are more fearful of being labeled rather than being known as a follower of Christ.
What then is Moral Courage?
“The ability to do right in the face of opposition or discouragement.” (Pastor Greg Laurie)
To face the enemy known as fire we take a “calculated risk” based on our training, conditions, and resources available. Yet when we are faced with a moral dilemma we should remember to make our decision based on our faith, our core values, and the ever present truth in God’s word. We should remember our spiritual training.
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8
To have moral courage is to “stand firm in the faith” no matter the opposition personally, professionally, and politically.
In order to develop this characteristic, one must sincerely believe. They stand firm, not because of their own strength, but because of their hope in Christ. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)
The challenge before us is as Christians is no easy task:
Let us be clear and speak the truth in love. When we are confronted, persecuted, or ridiculed because of our faith do not speak to them as they did to us. Remember, Jesus is our example. When he was mocked, cursed, spit on, and persecuted He did not respond with anger but with love.
Jesus showed us the way. This is the mark of true courage: To respond to hate with love, to answer ridicule with wisdom, to turn the opposition into a conversation, and to lead a conversation into a relationship.
The world may hurt us, betray us, but we can have hope that Jesus didn’t let that stop Him from loving us. He loved through the hurt.
Let’s pray that God will give us the courage to love others even when they hurt us. May His words be on our lips and may His strength be in our spirit for we cannot stand on our own without you O God.
We stand together in this fight with truth and suffer only because we trust in a God who has already won the victory for us. The Battle is won, we must trust and pray as we are being developed for a higher purpose.
And when we see our fellow brothers & sisters standing firm in the faith let us come along side them. Let’s support them when they are ridiculed. Let’s lift them up and encourage them to stay true to their faith in Jesus Christ.
Andy J. Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries