COURAGE + FORTITUDE = CHARACTER
If I had to base the film TRUST on a single scripture verse then this would be the one:
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV)
There is a lot going on in here – SUFFERING, PERSEVERANCE, HOPE but for now I want to focus on this part:
CHARACTER = The mental moral qualities distinctive to an individual – courage – fortitude…
Most of the time we equate ‘Character’ with good morals…someone with good character also is someone who has gone through a lot of ‘stuff’ and come out the other end. They are normally more sympathetic and compassionate and always do the right thing. It also creates a more ‘grounded’ nature in a person, so they are less likely to get caught up in the drama of life and are more stable.
But there is another part to Character – the INNER ARMOUR and OUTER STRENGTH that keeps you moving forward no matter what.
Character is made up of two parts: The mental moral qualities distinctive to an individual – courage & fortitude…
The ability to do something that frightens one; bravery.
Strength in the face of pain or grief.
So how do we have COURAGE in the face of fear, pain and grief. Grief is normally associated with loss and defeat. We can either face it or run away and hide. COURAGE IS FACING ‘IT’ (whilst being scared!) HEAD ON – but this is easier said than done...
“Being brave isn't the absence of fear. Being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it” - Bear Grylls
How do we get courage? How do we face the giants, the walls, the Red Sea? Were all those biblical heroes able to succeed because of their natural true grit or super-human abilities? No, they were facing insurmountable odds and the history of prior attempts and the current situations and abilities were all dire... so how did they do it?
You only got a sling and some stones…TRUST!
You only got a staff and a stammer…TRUST!
You only have some ‘unusual’ directions from God to walk around the wall and blow the trumpets??? – Ok….TRUST!
At the end of the day that’s all we have. As you look to the walls encasing your life, the giants threatening you and the Red Sea ready to engulf you - you have only TRUST. When despite the trembling fear, past losses and current grief, you have only trust inside you – this is COURAGE.
The inner armour or ‘strength’ of course comes from God. We need to access it constantly by pressing into Him and not relying on our own strength. We must keep stepping out in faith as well, despite the circumstance, but there's more to it than just persistance.
If all we do is keep hitting our head against a ‘Jericho’ brick wall in our lives we will eventually be knocked out. And sometimes that’s what its like in life – we are trying so hard to knock down the walls that it's just giving us brain damage and we end up like an old punch-drunk boxer who doesn’t know when to quit because he can't feel anything anymore. This just leads to burn out and going through the motions and the decline of our Trust in God and our reliance on our self. We end up like a punch-drunk spiritual zombie circling around the same Jericho walls in our lives.
The walls of Jericho came down, not because of Joshua's own physical strength, but because of his inner strength and courage – which came from the trust he had in God's ability to do what He said he would. Because of his trust in the Lord, he was obedient to the rather unusual instructions he was given, and when acted upon, he lead his people to victory.
To see the ‘walls come down’ in our own lives, we need to trust in the ridiculousness of God, to ‘face those giants’ we need to trust that what God has provided is enough, to see the Red Sea part' we need to trust that even though we can hardly speak and all we have is what’s in our hands then we trust that the rest will be in Gods Hands. This is our inner strength, to trust in God in spite of our grief and losses and in the face of fear we do it anyway - THIS IS COURAGE.