There’s no doubt that you’ll be called upon, in the very near future, to be courageous. Your company may change their HR policy to affirm some GQBLT dogma or require a medical procedure. Your teenager, whom you’ve always indulged, will need to be told “no.” You will need to send the living wage check back to the IRS. You’ll be skeptically questioned about your values. You might need to react to slander and lies about you, your faith, or your family. You may have a fracturing relationship that will require patient endurance and unabashed honesty. For all these, you will need courage.
But, courage isn’t summoned up because of good upbringing. Courage isn’t the result of being a strong willed and a respected member of the country club. Courage isn’t the birthright of American exceptionalism. A bigger paycheck, a facelift, or getting in shape won’t automatically turn you into a bastion of courage. Courage comes from receiving a new heart.
A guilty heart is a dead heart. A dead heart doesn’t have the will to speak up, or stand up. No matter how many American flags it waves, it is incapable of resisting tyrants because it’s a dead heart. Courage arises when you recognize that your standing before God isn’t determined by anything in you or done by you. When God gives a new heart, you realize that you stand in the light of God’s favor by grace alone; and then, and only then, can you stand firm in the face of multitudes that rise up against you.
As David exemplifies in Psalm 3, it’s only because the Lord is his shield, his glory, the lifter of his head that he can then say, “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.”
God calls us to confess our sin, to not hide our iniquity. Yet we have opted for calling it courage when a woman chooses to abort her child, or when multitudes parade their sexual vices through our city streets. In truth, we are a fearful people. We have fled at the falling of a leaf. One enemy has chased a thousand. So we know that we are under the just judgment of the Living God. Even amidst the ranks of those who call themselves by Jehovah’s name, there is capitulation, ungodly compromise, and unconfessed sin. If we would be a nation under God’s blessing, we know it will only be because the Spirit is outpoured once more, making dead hearts new. We must bend, in evangelical contrition, turning from the cowardly works of sin to the fountain of forgiveness. May God make us the kindling. May a reformation begin in the house of God, and may God graciously turn our nation back to Himself.