How to [be/not be] a Cowardly Lion

Our family chose a Wizard of Oz theme for Legacy's first Trunk or Treat.  I volunteered to be the Wizard or the Scarecrow or the Tin Man, but I didn't want to be the Cowardly Lion.  Maybe it's being a guy and maybe it's being in my 30s...but I'd rather be associated with the mindless Scarecrow than the cowardly kitty cat.

You remember the cowardly lion, don’t you?  He was supposed to be the king of the jungle, but he had no courage.  I’ve known many people like the cowardly lion.  If I’m completely transparent—at times it’s been me.  Whether it be making decisions without guarantees or dealing with interpersonal conflict, facing any uncertainty takes great courage.  You've no doubt encountered measures of cowardice in others...perhaps you would even admit you've been a cowardly lion once or twice before.  

-Cowardly Lions often say what people want to hear even if it's not the right thing, or the thing that should be said.  

-Cowardly Lions frequently avoid conflict.  I'm not suggesting we should look for conflict, but ignoring problems never leads to healthy solutions. 

-Cowardly Lions are never willing to make the hard decisions.  Most people don't prefer change.  Change is in the nature of hard decisions.  Not engaging in these moments makes us stuck, and stuck makes us stagnate, whether your decision is about a relationship, an activity, or a direction to take.

-Cowardly Lions bail on others when things become difficult.  Basic human behavior seeks to protect oneself at all costs.  It takes real courage to stick with others, even when it costs us time, energy, resources, and reputation.

In the Bible, Paul wrote to Timothy to encourage his faith and life.  2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline."  As Moses was about to die, and Joshua would take over as leader, Moses encouraged Joshua in the same way as Paul to Timothy, in Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

Fear hinders what God has given us: His power, love, and sound mind.  Are you dealing with fears today that are gripping you so tightly that you feel helpless and hopeless?   

In the Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion does not understand that courage means acting in the face of fear, which he actually does, over and over throughout the movie.  As christians, we're called simply to "walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8).  This is the idea of "abiding" that we studied in our EVERYDAY series.  We trust fully that God is with us and for us, and that He will not forsake us, and we act in the face of fear, depending on his strength, kindness, and wisdom to carry us through.

How can we practice courage with confidence in the everyday stuff we face?  

1) Start by praying for the Lord to open your mind and help you understand how to use the power given by His Holy Spirit. 

2) Pray for your heart to be filled with His loveknowing that His "perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18).  

3) Ask the Lord to clear your mind and bring to your thoughts His words, taking captive those thoughts not of Him. 

LET'S BE PEOPLE OF GREAT COURAGE.  In fact, since our "God is for us" (Romans 8:31), maybe courage should be one of our most defining traits!