This week I have been reflecting on what it means to act like a man (1 Cor 16:13). To act like a fully mature man carries the idea of living courageously. It means having the courage to stand alone. It means being courageous enough to follow the path in which God is leading you no matter how hard it is. Finally, it means being courageous enough to be patient.
It doesn’t take courage to insist on my way now. It doesn’t take courage to bully or berate others. King Saul was not known for his courage. According to 1 Samuel 10:22, when Saul was installed as King, he hid among the baggage. Later as King, he was threatened by David’s presence and tried to kill him. He threw a spear at David. He plotted his death. He chased him all over the land trying to kill him. It doesn’t take courage to use power to hurt others or insist on my way now.
It doesn’t take courage to manipulate or pressure others into doing what I want. In Mark 6, Herod’s wife Herodias manipulated Herod into killing John the Baptist. There was no courage there, only self-centered vengeance. Because she did not like John telling her that she was wrong, she manipulated her daughter into asking for John’s head on a platter. Courage does not manipulate or pressure others into doing what we want.
Courage waits patiently. It takes courage to patiently wait for God to change hearts and minds. Daniel was told he could not pray to God for thirty days. He didn’t rally the troops. He didn’t petition the King, or hold a sit-in at the capital. He simply went on doing the right thing. He continued to pray. When he was thrown into the Lion’s Den for disobedience, he patiently waited through the night surrounded by hungry lions. It doesn’t take courage to scream and yell when we are wronged. God was his protector. Psalms 37:7 says, “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!” It takes courage to trust God and wait patiently.
It takes courage to rest in the omnipotent sovereignty of God when we can’t see any solution. Samuel anointed David to be the next King after Saul. Several times David had opportunity to end Saul’s life. When Saul entered a cave in which David and his men were hiding, David’s men encouraged him, “Here is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘Behold, I will give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it shall seem good to you’” (1 Samuel 24:4). But David refused to kill one who had been anointed as King by God. He was running for his life and hiding out in caves, but he had the courage to wait on God’s timing.
When Queen Esther’s people, the Jews, were threatened with annihilation, she knew she had to approach the King about it even if it might cost her life. It takes courage to do the right thing no matter what the consequences. It takes courage to say with Queen Esther that I will do the right thing, “and if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).
Courage is patient. As a man, courage means being patient with your wife. It means being patient with your children. It means being patient with your co-workers. It means being patient with those to whom you minister. It means being patient with those who minister to you. It means being patient with those who do not yet see how great your ideas are. It means being courageous enough to admit when you are wrong, and being patient with others when you are right. Courage is patient. Act like a man. Be courageously patient with others.
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