12 Ways to Unleash Courage in Your Life
- Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Paul Coughlin's book, Unleashing Courageous Faith: The Hidden Power of a Man’s Soul, (Bethany House, 2009).
Living faithfully as a man means much more than just trying to be a nice, polite guy. Although that may be all your church seems to expect, God has more in mind for you. God has placed the potential for great power deep within you – the power to live with courageous faith that can transform you and the world around you.
Here’s how you can unleash courage in your life:
1. Use anger as a creative force. Anger isn’t necessarily bad; it doesn’t have to be directed in destructive ways. Allow yourself to feel anger whenever you encounter problems in our fallen world that God wants you to take seriously – like injustice, or a lack of mercy. Let anger help you see how your own life falls short of God’s best and how other people need help with their problems. Decide to use your anger for good by letting it motivate you to stand against sin and social ills and work to combat them.
2. Discard your small life for God’s larger life for you. Recognize the limits to your own power and choose to rely on God’s unlimited power flowing through you each day rather than trying to handle situations on your own. Keep in mind that you have a responsibility to a power greater than yourself – to God – and that all your strength ultimately comes from Him. Ask God to show you where you should direct your energy every day so you don’t waste it and can use it to accomplish good purposes. Take an offensive approach to life instead of a defensive one, since both demand energy, yet being proactive will help you direct your energy in the best ways possible. Stick to your tasks with fortitude, refusing to give up. Don’t be afraid to disturb others when you’re working toward good goals; some trouble is life-giving trouble that’s necessary for growth to occur. Whenever you suffer, do more than just endure it. Learn from suffering and ask God to use it make you into a better person. Be willing to make the sacrifices God calls you to make to live courageously as leads you. Let your courage connect you to God’s causes that transcend your own life. Remember that life isn’t about you – it’s about God’s work in the world. Decide to join God in His work and use noble force to fight for truth and love.
3. Choose noble “thumos” over shadow “thumos.” Thumos is a courageous faith that wields great power and can either be used for noble purposes or to fuel sinful behaviors. When you link your courageous faith to causes greater than your own ego and appetites, you can direct it in noble ways. Choose to serve God’s causes and become a vital part of His redemptive work. Reject negative, “shadow” forms of expressing courage (such as through hate, disdain, pride, terror, and supremacy) and direct your courage instead into righteous indignation that will motivate you to take redemptive action. Look to Jesus as your model of expressing courage; He didn’t hesitate to cause disruptions whenever necessary to tell the truth.
4. Break out of the status quo. If you limit your faith only to what makes you feel comfortable and safe, your faith won’t grow. Pursue adventures with God regularly. Accept His challenge to take risks and make whatever changes you need to make in your life to grow. Remember that God will always help you fulfill whatever tasks He calls you to undertake. Look beyond the world as it is right now; ask God to help you see what it can and should be. Then decide to do whatever you can to make the world a better place, no matter how uncomfortable you and others may become in the process.
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