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Posts Tagged ‘courage’

The Cowardly Lion is a character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L. Frank Baum. He is an African Lion, but he speaks and interacts with humans. Since lions are supposed to be “The Kings of Beasts,” the Cowardly Lion believes that his fear makes him inadequate. He does not understand that courage means acting in the face of fear, which he does frequently. Only during the aftereffects of the Wizard’s gift, when he is under the influence of an unknown liquid substance that the Wizard orders him to drink (perhaps gin) is he not filled with fear. He argues that the courage from the Wizard is only temporary, although he continues to do brave deeds while openly being afraid.

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So what does courage look like and how do we respond? Courage looks like three young men standing next to a fiery furnace knowing God is able to save, but acknowledging that God might not. Even so they refuse to worship another god. (Daniel 3) The courage of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego flowed from faith in a Sovereign God. “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23) Their faith developed a hope that God is able (Ephesians 3:20), His ways are perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4), and God has good plans (Jeremiah 29:11). This hope developed a love for God so deep that they refused to bow their knees to another god. This type of courage then is founded in faith, hope, and love.

Nicholas Wolterstorff wrote, “To love our suffering sinful world is to suffer.” Therefore whoever exhibits courage – the kind that comes from faith, hope, and love – will suffer. Jesus promises as much Himself, “…In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). It takes courage to love this suffering sinful world and God calls all His children to love and suffer. In our culture, courage means in faith accepting all of life’s circumstances as part of God’s sovereign plan when we would prefer to name and claim the course of our lives. In hope courage understands that ultimate victory lies on the other side of eternity and so we can ask, “what can man do to me.” Finally courage is speaking the truth in love when our culture would rather their ears be tickled than their sinful lives exposed. This is courage.

You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way
– Jesus Culture

May you this week rediscover this courage. May you choose to act with courage and bravery when you find yourself in situations that require courage. God will give you these situations. May you be reminded that courage is birthed from vulnerability – this is not weakness, it never was. May you choose courage in the places of life where it is easier to be passive. May you remember that in the cave you fear to enter lies the courage and the treasure that you seek.

You make me brave

I asked for courage
Then they came
Rolling thunder, storms
Driven by rain

Here’s the thunder
For you today
Be courageous
In all you say

Here’s the storm
Tossing you around
Be courageous
Stand your ground

Here’s the rain
With it’s angry wind
Be courageous
But don’t take it in

And here’s my heart
Mighty to save
Be courageous
I’ll make you brave

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The Hero with a Thousand Faces (first published in 1949) is a non-fiction book, and seminal work of comparative mythology by Joseph Campbell. In this publication, Campbell discusses his theory of the journey of the archetypal hero found in world mythologies and stories.

Since publication of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell’s theory has been consciously applied by a wide variety of modern writers and artists. The best known is perhaps George Lucas, who has acknowledged a debt to Campbell regarding the stories of the Star Wars films.

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Campbell explores the theory that important stories from around the world which have survived for thousands of years all share a fundamental structure, which Campbell called the monomyth. In a well-known quote from the introduction to The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Campbell summarized the monomyth:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

It is challenging to write a story, a good story that holds together and speaks to the human heart in any deep way, unless you borrow from God’s story. The nature of humanity and the things that we long for such as love, heroism and sacrifice, were put on our heart by God (see Ecclesiastes 3:11). You really can’t write a good story without borrowing from God’s story.

So if you pay attention to any of the powerful, contemporary films such as Titanic, Braveheart, Gladiator, The Matrix, or The Lord of the Rings series, you realise that you can’t create a gripping story without, consciously or unconsciously, telling God’s story. I would imagine that a lot of these screenwriters are aware of what they’re doing, but I think the success of “Titanic” is based entirely on the fact that it parallels the gospel. The love story, the ship going down in tragedy, he dies so that she might live…we want to be loved like that, we want to be rescued like that and we want to live in a story like that. It resonates with us.

Why is it that we just love stories with a hero and the villain? Because these stories mirror our own story. We all either want to be a hero, or have a hero rescue us. The villain is the evil one and is always present. We feel both of these characters every day as we all live in a broken world.

The quest we face on this earth is all about the story. Will your story be great or small, will it impact or will be impacted, will it live or just exist.

May you this week rediscover that your story is part of a much bigger and greater story. May your realise that your role in the great story is unique and is so important and vital to telling the greater story. The greatest story ever told is your story. You are the vulnerable courageous hero. It is your time to get in the arena of life and dare greatly.

Daring greatly

As silence is dropped
Like a stone in the sea
Ripples expand the
Echoes of eternity

Still freedom betrays
The brave who are free
Vulnerable courage
Echoes in eternity

If shame is the door
To the arena we see
Failure and success
Echoes through eternity

To those who dare greatly
While bending the knee
Humility faces the brave in
Echoes of eternity

Finally, here is a video clip about your part in the greater story. Be inspired.

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