Whether we are talking about William Wallace’s resistance to Edward Longshanks in Braveheart or Harry Potter’s showdown with Voldemort, their courageous stand moves us and inspires us. But movies gloss over character weaknesses that would otherwise cause courage to break. In reality, courage is only unbreakable when personal survival is no longer the main issue. Soldiers courageously fight for the guy in the foxhole next to them. They charge enemy machine guns to save a company pinned down. They fall on live grenades. These acts have one thing in common: the one sacrificing has set his welfare aside for those he loves. But when one’s present comfort and welfare is front and center, courage usually fails. Look how many Mafia leaders rat out their friends when faced with prison.
COURAGE GUARANTEES CHARACTER
However, such clearly defined situations don’t often come up. The courage to make a sales call or speak in front of a group or ask for a raise seems less morally certain and yet can be more frightening than facing enemy fire. And what makes it all the more difficult is looking out for our own welfare in most situations seems advisable. Lack of courage, however, erodes many other virtues as well. Winston Churchill once said, “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities, because … it is the quality that guarantees all the others.”
Most all our interactions require courage. Resisting the desire to avoid dealing with strained family relationships takes courage. Negotiating fairly with hostile co-workers or supervisors takes courage. Owning up to bad behavior and taking responsibility for failure takes courage. Taking necessary risks when you’re worried you are just one step from the edge takes courage. Staying in the game when you feel alone and afraid you won’t measure up takes courage. Remaining true to integrity when you see others getting ahead without it takes courage, especially as a Christ follower. You can think, “Maybe I got it wrong.”
COURAGE A MATTER OF SEEING CLEARLY
How do you summon the courage to continue what feels like slugging through the outback with a dull machete? The short answer is: trade Hollywood’s portrayal of reality for the Bible World. The Bible is not a moral treatise, a guide for success, a way to get into heaven or even a text book on how to know God. It is an outline of reality, a map of the world as it really is, a pair of glasses to see through the glare to the abundant creation God has put in place. And it’s about regaining what you were originally created to be as a human being.
GOD IS A GOD OF ABUNDANT RESOURCE
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says something often misconstrued:
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about what you will eat or drink or about your body, what you will wear … Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable than they? … See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin, yet I tell you that Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these … which is here to day and gone tomorrow. (Matthew 6:25-30)
We tend to think Jesus just wants us to see that God will miraculously take care of us, but our experience doesn’t always confirm that, so we worry and fear. But this isn’t exactly what Jesus is getting at. Yes, God does care for us, but there’s more going on. Jesus is describing the world God created. The world is so filled with abundance that even something as temporary as flowers experience it. God makes this point in Job 38:25-27,
Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm
to water a land where no man lives,
a desert with no one in it,
to satisfy a desolate wasteland
to make it sprout with grass?
SCARCITY IS AN UNGODLY FICTION
Grass and flowers grow in wild abundance in a desert where no one even lives! And if you’ve ever seen this phenomena, you know how stunning it is. Miles of vibrant color on a desert floor that disappears in a day or two.
Scarcity is fiction. Just look around, Jesus says! Scarcity is the paradigm of the unbelieving world. To them, resources are scarce and need to be controlled by the haves who will supposedly benefit the have-nots. But the belief in scarcity is what causes families to feud, political factions to rise, wars to erupt, and courage to fail.
In the Bible World Reality, there is no lack of resources—only lack of imagination. God created 350 billion galaxies in the universe that we know of and they average around 400 billion stars each. The human race circles only one of those stars. Ever wonder why God made it so big?
GOD CREATED UNLIMITED POTENTIAL
And think about it. Upwards of 95% of the world’s wealth has been produced in the last 100 years or so. In 1843, Patent Office Commissioner, Henry Ellsworth, stated he thought the continuous advancement of the human race was unsustainable and predicted that human improvement must soon end. Yet, think about what has developed since then.
God made the human race with virtually infinite possibilities. And that includes you, unless you let poor thinking incapacitate you. Entering the Bible World Reality, you see things as they actually are. You see God’s intense involvement, and the abundance he’s already put there for the human race. You discover you were created for extraordinary fruitfulness and how a few simple things practiced every day and you need never worry again—not even about death. As Jesus put it, “Not a hair on your head will perish” (Luke 21:18).
THE SECRET TO BIBLE WORLD COURAGE
And therein lies the secret of the Bible World Reality: your survival is already guaranteed both now and forever. And when you know your survival is secure, courage combined with wisdom becomes unbreakable.
And any man can acquire it. Embracing the Bible World Realty is described in Proverbs as embracing a woman named Wisdom. She doesn’t just simply make you smart; she makes you formidable:
Wisdom is supreme, therefore get wisdom
Though it costs all you have, get understanding
Esteem her, and she will exalt you
Embrace her, and she will honor you
She will set a garland of grace on your head
And present you with a crown of splendor
Long life is in her right hand
In her left hand are riches and honor (Proverbs 4:7-9, 3:16)
These are not pipe dreams. They are reality—Bible World Reality. And they can be yours.