Play The Man

Day 7 of 7 • This day’s reading

“Moral Courage”

I love how God repeatedly told Joshua to be strong and courageous when he was about to lead the Hebrew nation in their conquest of Canaan (Joshua 1:6-7, 9). But the truth is, he tells all of us to be strong and have the courage to do what is right.

Let’s quickly review. The six virtues of manhood we’ve looked at in these devotions so far have been tough love (sacrificing yourself for others), childlike wonder (never losing your desire to learn about God’s world), will power (that sanctified stubborn streak), raw passion (an infectious enthusiasm), true grit (the combination of passion and perseverance), and clear vision (knowing what you’re fighting for).

None of these are good enough without the final virtue: moral courage. “Courage is not simply one of the virtues,” writes C. S. Lewis, “but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”

Where does moral courage come from? From a conscience that is taken captive by the Word of God.

The conscience is our spiritual operating system—hardwired into the human heart—and it requires constant updating and upgrading. The way you do this is by downloading Scripture on a daily basis. When you study Scripture, you’re uploading God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will. Then you let your conscience be your guide—a conscience informed by the Holy Scriptures and fine-tuned to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit.

If you violate your conscience consistently, it’s like a gauge that no longer gauges. But if you get into God’s Word and God’s presence on a consistent basis, your conscience learns to listen for and respond to the voice of the Holy Spirit. You may need to humble yourself, confess sin, stand up to wrong, come out publicly for Jesus—it depends. But if you do it, eventually you become a man after God’s own heart.

A man of conscience is a change agent—a force to be reckoned with. As Andrew Jackson observed, “One man with courage makes a majority.” He’s not blown here and there by trending winds. He’s anchored to the Word of God, and that anchor holds him through ups and downs, through thick and thin.

Listen to your conscience and follow its lead.

Play the man!

Where do you need to act out of moral bravery today?