by Jeff Strite

This content is part of a series.

The Courage of Our Convictions (1 of 4)
Series: A Faith Based Life
Jeff Strite
Matthew 14:1-13

OPEN: The philosophy final at U.C.L.A had many blank pages for the answer to one question:
"What is courage?"Most of the students wrote frantically, giving examples, expounding on theories. But one of the classmates turned in his essay with just two words on it to describe what courage was. He wrote: THIS IS. And he received an A.

APPLY: What is courage?

With all due respect to that student from UCLA… courage is far more than a clever response on a college exam. That student "took a chance"; he took a risk. He gambled that his cute answer would get him the teacher's attention and approval. And he was right.

But true courage goes far deeper than merely taking a chance that we can get by on witty statements and creative behavior.

The "Saturday" magazine had a quote once that said: "Courage does not consist in feeling no fear, but in conquering fear. He is the hero who seeing the lions on either side goes straight on, because there his duty lies."

Plutarch said that: "Courage consists not in hazarding without fear, but being resolutely minded in a just cause."

And one poet wrote "Courage is an independent spark from heaven's bright throne By which the soul stands raised, triumphant, high, alone." George Farquhar

In other words: true courage is the result of faith. It's a faith in a just cause, or in an ideal, or in the Will of God. But this kind of faith - a faith that is the basis of true courage - is often the type of faith that requires us to stand… alone.

Throughout the Bible we're told stories of people who did just that.

ILLUS: One poet noted "Noah built the ark and voyaged alone. His neighbors laughed at his strangeness and perished in style. Abraham wandered and worshipped alone. Sodomites smiled at the simple shepherd, followed the fashion, and fed the flames. Daniel dined and prayed alone. Elijah sacrificed and witnessed alone. ...

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