The courage to face adversity and opposition is often one of the most difficult types of courage to cultivate.
Why is this so?
Because often it only grows through the challenge of adversity itself. In other words those who are courageous are ones who have held true to their beliefs in the face of great trials and tribulations.
As firefighters we risk our lives daily in numerous ways; yet when it comes to having the courage to speak up for our beliefs we often shy away from the task. Such as when we face a difficult situation with a co-worker and we find ourselves not speaking up.
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 truth in God’s word. And not on public opinion, the sake of our popularity, or whether the world will agree with us.
Thus to have moral courage is to “stand firm in the faith”. 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 the One who stood firm in the face of the greatest opposition ever known. His name is Jesus Christ and through Him we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Therefore the challenge that lays before us is no easy task. For faith makes all things possible but NOT easy.
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.
“A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath” (Proverbs 15:1).
Remember, Jesus is our example. When he was mocked, cursed, spit on, and persecuted He did not respond with anger but with love.
“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter and like a sheep silent before her shearers, He did not open His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)
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. The world often gets just enough of religion to become argumentative but they seldom get enough of Jesus and His love.
May we pray that God will give us courage to love others even when they hurt us.
“May your words be on our lips and may your strength be in our spirit for we cannot stand on our own without you.” In Christ name, Amen.
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.
So “as we are going” through our lives let us pray for the courage to stand firm in our faith, hold the line, and speak the truth in love. For it does us no good if we sacrifice a relationship for the sake of winning an argument. We must lovingly speak the truth and hold the line in the face of fiery trials.
Andy J. Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries