In his book Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, Chuck Swindoll tells the story about an experiment conducted by Ruth W. Berenda and her associates designed to demonstrate how young people handle peer pressure.
Ten students were placed in a room and shown three lines of varying lengths drawn on a card. The students were told to raise their hands when the teacher pointed to the longest line. However, nine of the students had been instructed beforehand to raise their hands when the instructor pointed to the second-longest line.
One student was the stooge and always seated in the back of the room. When the nine students raised their hands for the wrong line, the usual reaction of the tenth student was to look around the room, frown in confusion, but raise his hand with the group.
The instructions were repeated and the next card was raised. Time after time the self-conscious student would raise his for the shorter line because he lacked the courage to challenge the group.
This remarkable conformity occurred in about 75% of the cases and was true of small children and high-school students as well. Berenda quipped that “Some people had rather be president than be right.”
If that was true years ago with such a simple question, how much greater courage does it take for young people as well as older people to resist today’s woke culture of political correctness?
Being courageous speaks to the issue of character. It means to be staunch, steadfast, and strong. It involves firmness, strength and resolve to stand for what is right, even when it goes against the crowd. Courage, from God’s perspective, involves spiritual commitment, moral convictions, combined with mental and emotional strength founded on faith.
Today, more than ever, we need courageous Christians to be resolute and uncompromising by being true to their values and standing for Truth.
One of the great Bible examples of courage is Joshua. Facing the daunting task of assuming the mantle of leadership from Moses and leading Israel into the promised land, he was encouraged more than once to be courageous.
In his farewell address to Israel, Moses admonished the people to “be strong and courageous” and not to fear the enemies of Canaan. Then he summoned Joshua before all the people and offered this stirring challenge.
Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deut 31:7-8).
Following Moses’ death Jehovah Himself offered the same exhortation to “be strong and courageous.” Three times in this text (Joshua 1:6-9) God repeats the command to “be courageous.”
Often our confused culture labels people as courageous, who really aren’t and overlooks those unknown and unheralded people who really are courageous.
In a culture that is rapidly changing and often critical of Christians and those who espouse traditional, Biblical values, we are called upon to be courageous. Henry VanDyke called courage, “the standing army of the soul which keeps it from conquest, pillage, and slavery.”
Courageous Christians stand firm on principles instead of popular, public opinion.
Courageous Christians do what is right for the right reasons, even when they’re tempted to do wrong.
Courageous Christians “walk by faith, and not by sight.”
Courageous Christians are fortified by faith, fed by God’s Word, and fostered by prayer.
Courageous Christians know who they are, what is right, and where they are going.
Courageous Christians are not afraid to stand alone, knowing God is on their side.
Our homes, churches, and communities need courageous Christians. Pastors, preachers and parents must be courageous to speak the Truth, follow their convictions and conduct themselves with honor and integrity in a world that has lost its way.
In the words of the 19th-century hymnist, C. M. Robinson:
We are bound for Canaan land,
Tenting by the way;
Who shall lead us on the road?
Choose your king today.
Dare to stand like Joshua,
Dare to say the word:
“As for me and for my house,
We will serve the Lord.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman