There’s a surprising connection between humility and courage

April 5, 2019By Nicole StarkRise of the Servant Kings, Values
This article appeared on Fox News.

The Bible is filled with stories of immense bravery: Moses leading millions of people into the desert with no water or food; David fighting Goliath; Gideon; Jeremiah; Esther; Abraham. The apostle Paul’s life is one long saga of bravery and suffering. And at the core of courage is humility. Humility was the mark of each of these heroes’ lives. There were some falters, especially with Abraham, but courage marked by humility was the overarching quality that each possessed.

Courage isn’t something conjured up at the moment that it is needed. It is the expression of your character at a moment of testing. Courage is the sum of all your virtues expressed at a single moment in time. The person you have been, your secret thoughts, the skeletons in your closet, and a lifetime of training suddenly spill out. Would you run into a burning building to save a child with a crowd watching? What if no one is looking? What if you are rescuing an old man instead of a child? What if it is your enemy?

Near one of San Diego’s best surfing spots, Solana Beach, a sixty-six-year-old man was training for a triathlon. He was just off Fletcher Cove and in a line with several swimmers when he exploded from the water, both legs in the mouth of a twelve-to-seventeen-foot great white shark. The man emerged long enough to scream that he was being attacked before being dragged under again. Despite the obvious danger, two swimmers in front of the man turned and swam back to him, into the growing cloud of blood where a monstrous shark lurked, and pulled the man through the surf 150 yards to shore. Sadly, he died a few minutes later.

Courage is the expression of someone who sees something more valuable than herself.

Courage defends a victim by standing up to the bully, even though he’s bigger.

Courage says grace aloud in a restaurant.

Courage witnesses to a stranger. A lack of humility says, “I don’t want to ask that woman if she knows Jesus. I might look stupid.” This is an attitude that values self more than another person’s soul.

“Hang on. That’s not fair! I don’t really know how to share my faith,” you might object. Then care enough to learn. Put down your pride and pick up a book by Greg Stier of Dare 2 Share. He’ll teach you how.

Countless times I have seen my wife walk up to a stranger and say something brief and watched while the woman crumbles in tears. Elliette prays beside her for a long while, and then the woman hugs her tightly. I used to ask Elliette, “What was that all about?” “God just told me to go ask that woman if I could pray with her,” she’d answer. “I hate it when He does that. I’m always terrified that I’ll look stupid.” Yet she obeys and lives are changed.

Courage isn’t a lack of fear. It’s being terrified and obeying anyway. Here we see why humility is the foundation of courage. True courage flows out of concern for others without regard to the risk to oneself.

Judging Courage

“The spiritual person, however, can evaluate everything, yet he himself cannot be evaluated by anyone” (1 Corinthians 2:15, HCSB). Many Bible translations use the word judge where the word evaluate is used in this scripture. The English language has two meanings for the word judge: one is “evaluate”; the other is “condemn.” People who don’t follow Christ love to quote Jesus saying that we are not to judge (Matthew 7:1, HCSB). Jesus means not to condemn. He isn’t telling a godly person not to evaluate or discern.

How do we evaluate or judge true courage? Courage is an outward expression, but its true motivation is inward, and we can’t observe that. As an example, let’s take two platoon commanders in the same battle. Both charge a machine-gun nest, brave the bullets, and save their men. Each gets a medal for his actions.

The first man saw that the guns would soon mow down his men. He was drafted into the war; he didn’t volunteer. He comes from a broken home with no father to teach him honor in battle. Terrified and without thinking, he charges to save his men’s lives. He captures the guns, and his men live.

The second man is also terrified. He comes from a decorated military family. He joined the military because that’s what all the men in his family do. He looks around for escape and sees none. He doesn’t care about his men but is terrified to be branded as a coward. He’d never be able to look members of his family in the eye again. Seeing no way out of his predicament, he charges and his men are saved.

Are these men the same? We don’t see their hearts; we see their actions. They each earned the military reward that is given by mere men, but God knows who they are on the inside, why they did what they did. “I, Yahweh, examine the mind, I test the heart to give to each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve” (Jeremiah 17:10, HCSB).

One man says grace in a restaurant with meekness and humility out of pure gratitude to God, who gave him the meal. Another says grace to impress the people around him with how religious he is. He smacks of religious pride. Both have completed the same action, but one said grace in humility and the other in pride.

So how do we properly judge courage? We judge it only in ourselves. We can judge—evaluate—others only by their actions, because we can’t truly know their motivations. And this is where the man of God must dwell—at a point of constant self-examination:

Why did I say that? Why did I react that way?

Guard your heart and your integrity. Courage, or lack of it, is a window that reveals your level of humility, which makes it a primary signpost on your walk with Christ . . . and on your journey to becoming one of God’s servant kings.

Excerpted from RISE OF THE SERVANT KINGS: WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT BEING A MAN. Copyright © 2019 by Ken Harrison. Published by Multnomah, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Rise of the Servant Kings: What the Bible Says About Being a Man is available now on pre-order through AmazonBarnes & NobleChristianbookPowell’sBAM!Hudson BooksellersIndieBoundWalmart, and Mardel. The book launches May 7th and will be available everywhere books are sold.

Ken Harrison is the president and chairman of Promise Keepers. Ken’s mission is to provide executive leadership and strategic direction to the ministry while inspiring men to be bold, humble and ambitious about their faith.

This article appeared in the April Issue of Solutions Magazine and in Fox News.

http://mysolutionsmagazine.com/april-2019/

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/harrison-humility-courage.

Treat life like the Super Bowl, not the preseason

February 4, 2019By Nicole StarkCulture, News, Rise of the Servant Kings, Values
This article appeared in ChristianityToday.

How would you complete the following sentence? The goal of my life is ____________.

The goal of football is to score touchdowns. The goal of running a company is to increase profits or stock value. What’s the goal of your life? Matthew 25:14-30 provides the best answer: to hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

A man with a goal in life is active because he knows what he’s pursuing. Let’s live lives that the Savior deems “Well done!”

God delights and communicating himself in his ways to every man who is prepared to receive him. God can work in you only to the extent that you are submitted to him. We all have some “self” left in us. Every believer is granted the Holy Spirit the moment he receives Christ (Ephesians 1:13-14). The amount of influence the Spirit has on you depends on the extent of your surrender: the more self, the less God; the less self, the more God.

When I was with the LAPD and arrested someone, sometimes I was present when the jailer fingerprinted the prisoner. He would roll each finger in ink and then roll it onto the page. The jailer needed the finger absolutely yielded to him to get a good print. If there were any smudges, he would have to throw the card out and start over.

Often the prisoner would try to help and would smudge the print. The jailer would get angry and order him to relax every muscle and trust the jailer to do all the work. Some prisoners were unable to simply yield, and the process took a long time compared with those who yielded and completed the process easily.

That’s the picture of how God wants to work with us — life gets better when we relax and let him work through us. He’s patient, willing to work on us throughout our entire lives, teaching us to yield to him. But we have to let him do it. Self wants to help; self wants to get the credit. It chafes at the idea that God will do all and self can do nothing — except yield.

In our efforts to “help,” we have smudged the edges, putting the ugly print of human pride and self-effort where only our Lord should have received the glory. Jesus said that for us to enter the kingdom of heaven, we must be like little children (Matthew 18:3). He meant that our surrender must be one of simple, childlike trust in our Father. He will accept our surrender and fill us with his great power and fellowship. 

Too many men today are doing life like it’s a preseason football game. We think that because we’ve received Christ and can’t lose our salvation, there is nothing left but to seek our own pleasures and obey some set of rules that someone somewhere told us. We do the best we can, but it really doesn’t count, does it?

No one likes preseason football. God told us to snatch people from the hands of Satan and bring them into his loving arms. He’s told us to protect and provide for his children and to care for the less fortunate. Life is the playoffs, not the preseason.

And when the game’s over, we’ll get only one shot to hear Jesus say, “Well done, my son!” So let’s do the work that God gave us and, with it, experience the joy and reward of serving our Lord.