Courage: The Wisdom of Sensible Fortitude

If there’s a trait needed for these last days, it’s Courage, the Wisdom of Sensible Fortitude.  The Apostle Paul says it this way:

Be on your guard;  stand firm in the faith;  be men of courage;  be strong.  (1 Corinthians 16:13) 


There’s nothing wild, reckless, or thoughtless about it.  Watchful.  Aware.  Firm.  Faith.  Courage.  Strength.  All of these come from an inner core of Wisdom.  A core that isn’t ruffled by what others think of you or the difficulty of the task ahead.  A core that doesn’t give way when told the impossible odds.  A core that is grounded in love of Christ and faith in Him.  A core planted and rooted in an ardent belief that it’s more important to do God’s will than anything else.

Sometimes I think that the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz has some of the best lines.  Earlier in the movie, he gives a speech on Courage.    While he still struggles with understanding it, he ends up modeling it, and at the end of the movie the Wizard puts words nearer the target.

  • The Wizard: [To the Cowardly Lion] As for you, my fine friend — you’re a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate delusion that simply because you run away from danger, you have no courage. You’re confusing courage with wisdom! Back where I come from though we have men who are called heroes. Once a year, they take their fortitude out of mothballs and parade it down the main street of the city. And they have no more courage than you have. But — They have one thing that you haven’t got! A medal! Therefore, for meritorious conduct, extraordinary valor, conspicuous bravery against Wicked Witches, I award you the Triple Cross. You are now a member of the Legion of Courage!
  • Cowardly Lion: Oh… Shucks, folks, I’m speechless!

Well, a medal doesn’t define courage and the wisdom I’m referencing is counting the costs.  Courage is displayed as a sensible fortitude, considering Jesus worth giving Him your all, the Gospel being worth your every sacrifice, and God’s truth worth upholding no matter the future. 

It’s not the nonsense of Oliver Goldsmith “He who fights and runs away may live to fight another day; But he who is battle slain can never rise to fight again.”  Where is your faith, man?  Fight and run away?  I’m not a spiritual sniper or holy hitman.  I’m planning on rising and the life I get more than whatever life I lost. Courage!  But careful courage… a sensible fortitude … because sometimes the wisdom is in discerning which battles are worth fighting.

What about you?  Are you always running around looking to pick a fight, launch every flaming email, rapid-fire tweets of outrage from high capacity magazines?  Is every statement by someone on the “other side” an opportunity for outrage … or outreach?  Better, though, from where does your courage arise when the battle is important enough to fight?  How do you know the difference?  Wisdom.


Lord God, Help us to have courage in these last days, that act of the will to stand on an uncertain battlefield … to fight an insidious, often hidden enemy whose tactics are to steal, kill, and destroy.  Teach us to rely upon You to be our protection and to keep Your promises.  Grant that we would have wisdom for the facing of our adversary to know which battles You will fight and which ones require planting a flag, and the greater part of wisdom in letting go of battles imagined in which You have no cause for us to defend.  Help us to trust that the outcome You have planned will be for our good and Your glory no matter how it might appear to us.  Keep us from recklessness and preserve us by Your Holy Name. Amen.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on July 20, 2018

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