Moral courage seems to be in short supply these days, particularly in Washington, D.C. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is set to vote on increasing the debt limit as early as today. I’ve read any number of pragmatic opinion pieces on why the Republicans have no choice but to raise the limit.
Of course they have a choice. It isn’t a matter of choice, it’s a matter of courage.
Courage is something we must bring out of us. Courage comes not from self-preservation but from selflessness. To be courageous you cannot put yourself first. Someone or something must come first.
Moral courage comes from understanding that I am not standing alone even if I am. Read again for the first time Moses’ words to Joshua:
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
If I am in need of moral courage, I must remember two things about my Sovereign God. First, because of my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, God is always with me. Second, God has made promises that He will always keep. He reminded Joshua of this when He called Joshua to take the leadership mantle after Moses’ death.
“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:5-9)
In most cases, pragmatism is the enemy of moral courage. Pragmatism asks, “Will it work?” Moral courage asks, “Is it the right thing to do?” Years ago I wrote a devotional titled “Pragmatism Is An Illusion”, and in it I warned that “pragmatism will always cause confusion in the Christian’s mind because it allows for doing what he or she knows God does not allow.”
Confusion causes fear in the hearts and minds of man and we must always remember that confusion is not from God. It is the fear of man that causes many a determined leader to falter, if not fall. We cannot be worried about what man will do to us. Our eyes must forever be on God:
“I called on the Lord in distress; the Lord answered me and set me in a broad place. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:5-6)
Beloved, our courage is always going to be tested, so be ready for the testing. C.S. Lewis once said:
Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.
The sum total of your character is the measure of your courage.
What do you add up to?
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Copyright © 2013 David Jeffers
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