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Courage Or Cowardice?*
Greg Morris, Director, Greg Morris Ministries
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A.
Long ago you realized that it was not possible to please everyone all the time or
to make everyone happy. Whatever decision you make, someone is either going to be pleased
or disappointed with your determination. Your decision-making is going to be applauded by
some, while others are going to second-guess you.
- Leaders Make Decisions
- But in the role of leaders we recognize we must make decisions. Colleagues, subordinates
and others around you insist you act decisively. People expect leaders to
exhibit courage and calmness in the face of crisis. This requires decisive involvement.
- Decision-making simply goes with the territory of leadership. It's not a
matter of making a palatable decision, but making a right decision. Decisions need to be
made despite the risks or opposition.
- Decisions Are Difficult
- It is often difficult to make a decision that says "Yes" to one
thing or person while saying "No" to something or someone else. And because of
this you only need to be on the trail of leadership a short time before you realize that
moral courage is a needed commodity.
- Courage is not the absence of fear and doubt but following God's call in
the midst of fear and doubt. The great "theologian" John Wayne defined courage
as "being scared to death but saddling up anyway." It's being able to overcome
cowardice and resistance to proactivity.
- Often it would be easier to run and hide, but you know that option is not
in a leader's playbook. Courage in the face of difficulty translates into renewed and
deepened commitment by the followers.
- Components Of Courage
- 1. Convictions - These provide the framework for your
decisions. What are your real values as opposed to those passing interests or mere
concerns? Without deep convictions courage is impossible.
- 2. Choices - Decisions aren't to be made simply on the
basis of favorable or unfavorable circumstances, but on the basis of wise,
- 3. Competence - When spiritual and intellectual
preparedness intersects with opportunity, only then can God use you greatly.
- 4. Character - Courage is simply character on display.
Everything you are and do as a leader is derived from your character. In Romans 5 Paul
- "We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces
perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4 (NIV)
There is no Christian character without Christian suffering. Christian suffering is
what shapes, builds, and fine-tunes character.
Repeated suffering brings opportunities of strengthened character. The confident,
Christian leader does not shy away from the suffering nor does the leader embark on
mindless masochistic missions. The Christian leader understands that godly
leadership and courageous character are a function of suffering and perseverance.
- 5. Commitment - Commitment is a direct
consequence of a sequential, cyclical process described in Romans 5. Unshakable hope in
God's power is what maintains unshakable commitment.
- "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our
hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)
- Focused on Christ's victory over suffering, the Christian leader has greater hope than
the world can give. As leaders suffer, they rejoice, persevere, and hope in spite of
further suffering. This hope is a result of God's gracious working by which He has poured
out His love in us.
- 6. Confidence - No matter what the suffering, the Christian leader
maintains a perspective of hope rooted in the Gospel. This hope drives the leader's
commitment to trust the omnipotence of God to overcome all. God's Word is the Gospel is
the omnipotent "power of God" to overcome even the greatest evil and the most
- 7. Christ-Centeredness - Leaders who lead based on their
own energies, talents, intelligence, charisma and plans are doomed to failure. Though the
world sees amazing results, without the recognition of the centrality of Christ and His
power, the leader builds in vain. St. Paul's leadership was confident and Christ-centered.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).
Godly Christian leaders know, understand and move forward with this unshakable
- 8. Celebrates Grace - Everything that happens in
leadership is of God. No matter how effective and talented a leader might be, without God
the leader could do nothing. Everything that leaders realize and achieve, therefore, is
just another action of God's grace. However great the success, it is always an
undeserved and unmerited gift. Christ is the One who builds His Church. Left to
ourselves, the church would crumble in a moment. This knowledge keeps leaders walking
humbly and in awe of God's working of grace in them..
- Need Courage?
- The narrative of Esther is a profile in biblical courage. Esther
demonstrated a courageous faith borne out of conviction, not convenience. She knew that
even when everything was going against her that God was in control. Thus she courageously
moved forward with a commitment and conviction in God's will working through her.
- Hard decisions always need to be made. God has called you to make those
which accompany your calling. Make these decisions courageously. Not all the decisions you
make will be popular with everyone. There is a price to pay with every
decision. That price often involves some sort of suffering and sacrifice for you and
others. A leader unwilling to pay the price however, is neither a leader nor a follower.
He's a cowardly, faithless deserter.
- Act with courage based on an unshakable conviction of God's gracious
power and leading. Move boldly in the hope and vision which God has given and discover real
character and real Christian leadership!
Copyright Greg Morris and Ministry Health 1998--All Rights Reserved
* Freely adapted from an original article
"Courage or Convenience" by Greg Morris http://www.leadershipdynamics.org.
Index Articles 1-49
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was revised on:
Tuesday, October 05, 2004 11:03:55 PM