As a pastor, I have the unique opportunity to observe some of the most amazing sides of human character. Yes, those great times where people choose to be selfless in a self-obsessed world. Like the widow, who instead of being angry at the world for her loss while seeking to gain attention for her sorrow, chooses to look to help others in need. It is the same with that student who chooses to work hard at their homework and studies, instead of getting involved in the cheating circle regardless if it means a lower grade. These moments are inspiring to observe.
There is one behavior that not only encourages me but emboldens me, bolsters me, strengthens me, and moves me. I have seen this moving conduct in the smiling face of a little child heading off to yet another cancer surgery. I have seen this motivating action in the resolve of a single mom working two jobs and making time to raise and parent her two boys. I have seen this exemplary choice in the way a job searching man picks himself up after yet another rejection. I have seen this stirring venture in people, young and old and in between, that make an uncompromised commitment to live with integrity, morally upright in crooked and unethical world.
This moving trait is bravery, the courage and daring to push against the current and strive forward in life. This striving forward comes from a deep inner trust in something bigger than ourselves. In the examples above of the bravery I have observed, they all came from a deep and growing faith, a choice to trust in God. A choice that regardless of the outcome, they were going to stand firm.
The Bible is packed full of even more inspiring stories of bravery. The story of Joshua, who against great odds was called to be brave.
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua put his faith in All-Powerful God, trusting that God would be with him. We can have that same courage as we put our trust in All-Mighty God who loves us and has much for us as we follow Him in faith.
It does require that brave uncompromising choice like Daniel’s three friends, who would not bow down as ordered by the king to worship another god. They would not compromise their faith, regardless of the consequences (see Daniel 3:1-30) and their consequence was to be burned alive.
Daniel 3:16-18 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
You have to read the story to see what happened, but what impresses me is they had no guarantee they would be spared, yet they bravely stood resolved. Their faith was bigger than their fear. They had a greater fear of the Lord, an intense reverent respect of who God is and His way of life, it was to such a degree that they could stand firm. So what do you revere?
Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.
See, this bravery comes from a deep trust in God, putting our hope in Him.
Psalm 27:14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
Psalm 31:24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!
Too much in our world seeks to hold us back, push us down, and dilute the creative person God designed us to be. You have a purpose. You have a plan, and God is waiting for you to trust in Him and boldly press on.
Philippians 3:12-14 12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Let’s be brave. Let’s make brave moves and see how that inspires others to make even braver moves.
Church is a great place to foster bravery as we grow in our understanding and knowledge of God and His way of life. If you are not already connected to a church, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or one of our branch churches in either Los Alamitos or Garden Grove this week. Our website has all the information you would need. www.cypresschurch.net . Your brave move to try church would be a great inspiration.
Seeking to make brave moves alongside you,