Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Dear Colleagues,

Thus far in our series on Seven Key Elements of Leadership, we have discussed vision, integrity and perseverance. In ensuring issues we will cover, a hunger for innovation, a willingness to take risks, and influence. Todays Facts focuses on courage:

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COURAGE is that rare quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to meet danger, opposition, or hardship with fearlessness, calmness and firmness. Its bravery. Courage is the decision to act in accordance with what you believe to be right.  Its guts, mettle, pluck, resolution, audacity, valor, boldness, heroism, backbone, grit, determination, tenacity. A rare thing, courage.  But why? Because when we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen.  There will be something solid for us to stand on or we will be taught to fly.1 Not everyone is willing to live at that level.  To go against the dominant thinking of your friends, of most of the people you see every day, is perhaps the most difficult act of heroism you can perform. 2 

Mark Twain observed, It is curiouscurious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.That is courage.

The Scriptures do not define courage as such, but powerfully illustrate and inform us of its source. Consider the courage of the Prophet Elisha. Evil King Ahab of Israel – who held the power of life and death in his hands – encounters the Prophet Elisha, who courageously greets him with a blistering indictment, and warning of coming judgment: "What do we have to do with each other?As surely as the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not look at you or even notice youHave you not murdered a man and seized his property?…In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood–yes, yours!…Because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. [God is] going to bring disaster on you. I will consume your descendants.  (II Kings 3:13, 14; I Kings 21:19-21a) That is courage.

So, how does a follower of Christ gain courage over fear? You get before God and prayerfully absorb his word; his promises.  You claim them and determine to fulfill the conditions contained in those promises. You lay your concerns before him and thank him ahead of time that he is the solution to your apprehension. (See Philippians 4:6, 7) Then you step out into your day, armed with the promises of God, trusting him to grant you the victory.  Observe the promises and conditions for fulfillment in Joshua 1:7-9:  Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; 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. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

During the attacks on New York, September 2001, Rudy Giuliani was in midtown Manhattan when the first passenger plane slammed into the World Trade Center.  He immediately made his way toward the danger area, only to observe the second plane hit. It was obvious to him by now that this was a coordinated terrorist attack. Rather than flee to a fortified bunker, he risked his life as buildings collapsed around him, entrapping him in their rubble. Mercifully, he emerged to help direct the rescue efforts, thus becoming a symbol of hope and courage to the people of New York.  That is courage.

QUESTION:  Are you choosing to base your life on Gods promises, so that you are able to courageously live out the unadulterated life of Jesus in a world that is hostile to Him? Or are you frozen by fear? Curtailed by cowardice?  If so, what steps do you need to take today to begin the process of moving from fear to courage?  From fear to liberation? Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong. (I Cor. 16:13 NLT)  (See Deut. 31:6, 7; 1 Chron. 12:28; Esther 4:16; Psalm 31:24; 2 Cor. 1:18-20; 2 Tim. 1:7; Heb. 6:12)

1 Patrick Overton, 2 Theodore H. White, 3 Susan B. Anthony

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