Courage is trendy right now.
Any secular decor store is full of plaques that say “be brave” or “live with courage.” And so often things that are immoral are pointed to as expressions of bravery simply because they have not been the norm in society before.
But this is definitely not the real meaning of courage.
Courage means doing what one ought to do, regardless of one’s feelings and the consequences that may come.
It is not the absence of fear, nor is it foolhardiness that rushes into dangerous situations without a care.
Courage is a concerted choice to do the right thing, even knowing that you may be mocked, ridiculed, ostracized, or even killed for your actions. It’s not a trendy, sentimental little thing. It’s the foundation of facing life like Christ, who spoke the truth in love no matter where he was even with the full knowledge that he would ultimately be killed for his efforts.
When we need a strong example of bravery we need look no further than Christ.
Last month we talked about the courage needed to embrace Hope in the face of a culture that treats it with skepticism at best and hostility at worst. But this doesn’t just apply to Hope. There’s a whole range of Christian virtues that take a great deal of courage to live out in the modern world.
Christianity is countercultural right now, and therefore requires great courage to live. There’s a whole range of topics, from objective truth, to morality, to simple application of virtue, that we as Christians profess that make our culture extremely uncomfortable.
We refuse to fit conveniently into the nice little box of relativism that they have made for us.
We refuse to believe that truth is decided by majority vote.
We refuse to “modernize” beliefs that are timeless as the God revealed them to us.
And so we find ourselves squarely in the middle of a new kind of era in the church – one not necessarily marked by violence in the physical sense (at least in my country of the United States), but definitely violent attacks in the verbal and emotional sense. People appeal to emotion to make it seem as though Christianity is heartless, when nothing could be further from the truth.
Christianity holds the heart of God, the fulfillment of all human desires. But unfortunately the truth that our culture embraces about things like weight loss or climbing the corporate ladder (that there is no quick and easy solution and you will have to go through the pain and dedication if you’re serious about it) the same culture refuses to embrace about spiritual health. We can’t simply do what we want without any consequences. Spiritual health flourishes in discipline and rightly ordered living, just as weight loss flourishes in discipline and rightly ordered diet and exercise.
It takes courage to be a part of this culture without becoming representative of the culture. It takes courage to keep persevering in virtue when the people around you don’t see the point. It takes courage to stand in the gap and listen without letting the voices around you sway you from the truth.
And so you, fellow Christian women, I salute. We walk a hard but incredibly worthy the road. And I could not be happier to share the road with anyone else.
We are in each other’s story because we need each other to continue to be brave.