Monday, August 04, 2008


In Kansas City, we have a wonderful sports writer named Joe Posnanski, who recently wrote an article on courage being discussed by battle-tested soldiers in a class he was facilitating. Near the end of the article, he asks the class what they think real courage is, not the kind in sports, but the kind displayed on the battlefield when your life is on the line. Some of the points of the article were:
  • “You’re going to be scared,” said another. “There’s no way around that. But you have to go through it so you can tell yourself: ‘OK, that fear wasn’t that bad; it wasn’t enough to paralyze me. I can perform my duties even feeling scared.’ ”
  • They agreed that physical fitness is a big part of courage. “If you’re fat and out of shape, your courage cannot hold out on a battlefield,” one said. “It has nothing to do with how brave a person you may be. You can’t hold out, because you are fighting your own body in addition to fighting the enemy.”
  • They also agreed that certainty galvanizes courage. The surer you are of what you are supposed to do, the more courageous you feel. “This is why we train so hard,” a soldier said. “We train until it becomes automatic. You don’t want to think in that moment on the battlefield. You want to react like you have been trained.”
  • Finally, they said that courage comes from confidence, from an unshakable conviction that what you are doing will succeed.

Wow. You can take those comments of these battle-tested soldiers and apply them so easily to our current and coming spiritual battles. From these comments, I have learned:

  1. That fear of trials is normal, but that I must learn how to accept it and continue onward.
  2. That I must train; mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. If my mind or body gives out during the rough times ahead that we in the Church know well in advance are coming, then I haven't done my part. That's why Bible study, prayer, fasting and meditation are so important. But it's also important to physically go do what I know to do. True religion is doing. And training will enable all of us to react automatically in the right way when fear has taken hold of our mind and body.
  3. "Certainty" of the task, or believing that what I'm doing is actually correct; proven from God's Word. You don't want to question your beliefs when you're standing in front of a king or ruler with your life on the line. Prove them now while discussing and teaching with others.
  4. Confidence -- or faith in God that He will do as He promises. There will be a Kingdom set up and Jesus promises those who follow Him will receive an office in it. And we will be responsible for training the rest of the world in the same way. Do I believe it? Will I believe it if my life is hanging in the balance?

Even though we in God's Church don't participate in mankind's wars, we can learn some lessons from these soldiers. For even God stated to His people:

"Be strong and of a good courage. Do not fear nor be afraid... For Jehovah your God is He who goes with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you." -- Deut. 31:6

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