The Courageous

 

The world may be divided into two camps of people; those who are courageous and those who are timid.

The courageous are fearless to take risks. They are not the brash and the provoked whose vice is pride and not the virtue of courage. The courageous act in wisdom and right faith, not out of foolish impulse and arrogance.

It is not timidity to wisely deal with a challenge. The Chinese military general Sun Tzu wrote: It is the rule in war, if ten times the enemy's strength, surround them; if five times, attack them; if double, be able to divide them; if equal, engage them; if fewer, defend against them; if weaker, be able to avoid them. Jesus said, Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace (Lk.14:31-32). Sun Tzu also said: The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.

The timid choose a place of security and less or no challenge. They do not accomplish anything bold and revolutionary. They wish to be safe with the crowd and sing the tunes that amuse the masses. They do not stand out. They stay home afraid of a fictitious lion rampant on the streets (Prov.22:13; 26:13). They flee when nobody pursues, but, those who know what is right and are right with God are bold as the lion (Prov.28:1).

The courageous follow truth and refuse to be slaves to unquestioned traditions of humans. They are courageous to ask the right questions not out of impudence or insolence, but out of their love for what is just and noble and virtuous; for the goal of courage is not heroic exploits but the pursuit of what is right, true, and just.

The courageous know the importance of training self and being prepared. They do not waste away time in idle affairs just because they sense no challenge around. They fan their gifts with fearless wisdom and readiness to respond at the call. The truly Spirit-filled are not timid, for they know that God has given them a Spirit of love, of power, and a sound mind. But, they don't take the Spirit for granted. They train themselves rigorously at all times and avoid affairs that will blunt their edge (2Tim.1:7; 2:4).

Finally, the courageous make right decisions at the right time. As Sun Tzu put it: The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim. One of the most distinctive explanatories in the Gospels is the times when the Gospel writer mentions when Jesus' hour had not yet come and when He knew His hour had come. He did what He was sent to do at its right time. Courage out of place with timing and patience is folly. True courage acts rightly at the right time of action.

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