Orrin Woodward LIFE Leadership Team

Winner of the 2011 Independent Association of Business Top Leader Award; Orrin Woodward shares his leadership secrets.

Courage of Your Convictions or Cowardice of your Comforts

Posted by Orrin Woodward on April 13, 2008

Here is an inspiring article by Robert Morrisette on having the courage of your convictions.  I love the opening definition of courage – not the absence of fear, but the perception that there is something far more important at stake.  Wow!  I could not have said it better myself if I took the next year.  Courage is not the strength inside of you as much as the strength of your convictions.  Courage is really a matter of what you are focusing on.  Study any person of courage that you know.  You will find that what drives them is a conviction that is worth paying any cost for.  Without this conviction you will not pay the price.  Cowards have no convictions worth dying for and that is why they never truly live.  If you are focused on God’s Glory then you can endure many setbacks, failures and heartaches because you know there is something far more important at stake.  If you are focused on what is happening to you then you will shrink back from God’s Glory to self comfort.  Have there been moments in your life where you had to decide on doing what is right vs. doing what is comfortable?  Lives are defined by those special moments when we must choose between comforts and convictions.  I pray you choose wisely.   Here is the full article.  Ponder on these points as we celebrate another Lord’s day.  God Bless, Orrin Woodward

 

I have heard it said that courage is not the absence of fear, but the perception that there is something far more important at stake. Having such a “something” gives us the ability to resist giving in to fear and to eventually rise above it. It is only in the presence of fear that true courage can be exercised, but without this “something”, how can we see beyond those things we’re afraid of?

 

Before I go further, let me say that I am not talking about appropriate fears, such as of immediate danger. Rather, I am speaking of the times when we are consumed by what we are afraid will happen, thus denying that God is in charge and that He is good. These are beliefs supported by lies that encourage us to focus on our present circumstances and past experiences. So often at these times it is hard to see what good is to come, because the uncomfortable feelings make us want to run and hide. Fear wants us to believe lies about our value, potential, abilities, influence and place in God’s heart. It wants us to fix our attention on the negative things that others may have said or done to us. Fear wants us to get our eyes on anything but the Father. When we give in, fear once again defeats us, seeming to reinforce the “truth” of the lies we have believed. It is very debilitating. Yet, if we can get to the place of conquering it, on the other side of fear is great reward.

 

When I was teaching my son to ride his bike without training wheels, he was very fearful of falling over and getting hurt. As I helped him practice, there were moments when he did fall over and, yes, he did want to quit. In the midst of this process, I kept encouraging him to try again. I held for him what he was not able to see, that he had it in him to do it even though he did not realize it yet, and that there was a great reward waiting once he learned to master balancing his bike.

 

Then it happened. He rode his bike without my help. As his confidence grew, he began mastering turning, then riding on dirt, going down a hill, riding with one hand-all of it. The amazing thing was his own words, “You were right, Daddy. This is fun!” His fear was overcome by accomplishment, replaced with the joy of riding a bike and an attitude that said, “What can we do next?”

 

Many people develop a practiced response to circumstances where fear is involved: they avoid them. They let fear rule them instead of caution them, thus allowing it to rob them of the good things in store. My son had fear because he was going beyond what he was used to doing. It made him aware that he might get hurt and should therefore take things slowly, but he did not allow it to keep him from trying.

 

The enemy knows who we really are, what potential we have, and the Father’s love for us. He also knows that we are not aware of many of these things ourselves. If he cannot keep us from being saved, he definitely does not want us to take hold of these truths. He knows that one of the greatest threats to his kingdom is more and more of God’s people realizing how the Father sees them. It is what we have not come to fully believe that is a threat to him. If we choose to believe God, refusing to allow the enemy’s lies to sow the seeds of fear in us, he knows that we will become a growing threat to his kingdom as God works through us.

 

So why doesn’t God just vanquish fear when we cry out to Him? Why do we, His people, even have to experience fear at all?

 

I will offer two reasons, although there are probably more. The first is that the Father wants to heal those places in us and times in our past when we did submit to fear. He does not want to condemn us. Rather, He wants us to renounce the decisions and judgments we made long ago and receive His forgiveness so these past choices and old beliefs no longer interfere with the present. In order to deal with these areas, He will allow present circumstances in our lives that are similar to those in our past. Often we will be able to recognize that this is happening when we experience more fear than the present circumstances warrant, and find ourselves wanting to flee or respond inappropriately. In such times we need to ask God, “What circumstances in my past made me feel this way and caused me to respond the way I’m wanting to respond right now?” As He shows us, we are to pray through these instances, forgiving those who have hurt us, and asking God’s for the lies we believed. If we avoid the opportunity to trace our fears, we miss the opportunity to conquer them. But the Lord is faithful, and He loves us. He will bring another circumstance into our lives at a later time.

 

The second reason is that the Father wants us to know and experience the truth that fear does not have mastery over us-we only believed it did. He does not allow things in our lives in order to makes us feel bad about ourselves or so we can fail. Instead, as the loving Father that He is, He holds for us what we are unable to see for ourselves at this time. He knows we have yet to see our potential. He knows that He has something great waiting for us on the other side. As we chose to cooperate with Him, believing that He is good, trusting Him, then we will come to see and experience it too.

 

The Lord is completely committed to you. You are loved. Often the very thing you have been asking for resides on the other side of the fear He would have you conquer. Keep in mind that you have authority over an area to whatever degree you have conquered it. Take courage, knowing that the “something” that is bigger than your fear is the Father’s love for you, His goodness and faithfulness to bring you into the good things that await you. Resist fear, realizing that the Father believes in you and holds for you what you have yet to see-your potential to succeed. Press through, knowing that you will enter into a deeper knowledge of the love He has for you (Romans 5:2-5).

 

Robert Morrissette is the Director of Prayer Counseling and Internship Coordinator at Elijah House. The purpose of Elijah House is to share the love of Jesus to restore broken relationships and bring healing to hurt and wounded hearts, lives and relationships; to call God’s people to “restore the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” and to “restore all things.”

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