Setting the Conditions for Courage
It was the devastating aftermath of 911 that moved Adam's heart. It was then that he decided to join the fight. He recounts that right before college, he sat down and talked to his dad about the choice he’d made, the courage he’d felt, and the desire that pulled him. And with the advice of his father, he set his plan in motion, enrolled in college, and planned to join the army after graduation.
This story comes to us from Adam Jones – a follower of Christ and an Army Veteran. Adam spent his college years preparing for the decision he’d already made in his heart. He trained, studied and prepared intently. In his mind, he already was a soldier.
Yet, preparation couldn’t predict that moment when there was no turning back. The day when it all became REAL. When Adam had to say goodbye to his family and fly into combat.
His time in the army taught him that “unlike the movies, courage doesn’t just happen.” In order for courage to exist, we have to set up the conditions and keep moving forward. So what “conditions” lend themselves to acts of courage? Does just doing your job set you up? Can we all do it? And what does it look like?
Well, for Adam, the conditions that set him up for courage were:
Deciding to join the fight
Accepting his morality and that there was NO turning back
Realizing that with his brothers and sisters, they were stronger together
Deciding to learn and master his job
Trusting his training
You see, once Adam realized that he was an important part of his team, and that his unique gifts and talents made a difference, the small acts of courage – like showing up and doing his job every day – were a little bit easier. He plugged into the larger whole and committed to doing his part every day with all his heart, knowing that it would make the team stronger.
It wasn’t that he walked into the army brave and courageous. It’s that he kept moving towards the fear, over and over again and that caused the transformation. Adam developed a lifestyle of courage through training and repetition.
Adam teaches us that “courage is not the absence of fear; it’s acting in spite of fear.” Even Jesus was afraid. When it was time for Jesus to go to the cross to pay for our sins, He wasn’t excited, He was troubled. Yet, He faced the fear and declared, “it is for this very reason I came to this hour” – John 12:27 (NIV). Jesus had the power to stop it all, but He made the choice to confront agony and pain, knowing it would end in His death. And because of that choice, we get to live in the moment of courage and glory forever.
In everyday life, training looks like reading your Bible, spending time with God, plugging into the body of Christ, and sharing your gifts and talents with your brothers and sisters. Then allowing that training to develop the courage and faith to trust God to keep all of His promises.
Want to hear the full story? Listen to Adam’s message from Sunday’s Celebration Service HERE.