I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
– Nelson Mandela
If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent a significant part of your life under the assumption that bravery is a quality possessed by externally strong individuals with little or no flaws. As humans we often look at the exterior to make our first judgment call, but I have come to believe that bravery is produced from within (1 Samuel 16:7).
Looking back on my childhood, one of my earliest memories of what I considered bravery took place in my living room in Oakland California watching a cartoon called “The Cowboy’s of Moo Mesa.” Three brave cowboys riding around, guns blazing and fighting crime vigorously.
I was so inspired that I convinced my parents to buy me my own cowboy boots and a deputy badge from Lucky’s. Sadly, the badge didn’t produce in me the bravery I suspected it would. As I grew older, I believed success and attention would bring me the courage to be myself and the confidence to conquer my fears; instead, my fears subdued me. Every decision I made was out of fear. As a result I played it safe, always settling for good instead of great.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
God’s love makes us conquerors, pushes us to be courageous, and leads us to live brave lives.
I’ve come to understand that true bravery is found in the man or woman who decides to allow God to uproot, tear down and ultimately rebuild their lives in such a way that they win battles they shouldn’t win (Psalm 18:34-35).
One of the most courageous things a person can do is let God transform their character. The man or women that does this is able to face the storms of life no matter the size (Luke 6:47-48). It takes bravery to choose God’s destiny for your life but when you do, you will find yourself living out the scripture in Romans 8; winning battles you shouldn’t win and overcoming challenges too difficult for the ordinary.
When we respond to God’s love, a part of our hearts unlock and we are compelled to do the unimaginable (2 Corinthians 5:14).
- What is the greatest fear in your heart right now?
- Do you believe a relationship with God can help you conquer your greatest fears?
- What brave decision is God calling you to make today?