"Spiritual courage and determination lived out in our flesh."
This is how Oswald Chambers in Our Utmost for His Highest describes the spiritual life.
What is spiritual courage? We have to begin with what we know to be true. This truth is not based solely on our own thoughts but what we’ve read, how we have been guided and what we claim to believe. We are chosen we are beloved we are forgiven. These are all repetitive verses, refrains we churchgoers sing each Sunday and yet I find many of us don’t really believe it.
Our day to day walking around version of ourselves is often based on how we feel. If it’s been a rough morning, a lousy last night or too busy a weekend, it is easy to define our lives based on the circumstances. Moment by moment we take our emotional temperature and conclude positively or negatively. We seem to forget the words we sang on Sunday, the verses we memorized as children, the beliefs Christ followers ascribe to. This always makes me ponder how do we know what is true? Is it based on today or is it based on where we came from?For many of us, what is true is based on our own redemptive story.
Back to spiritual courage-I believe what Oswald Chambers was referring to can simply be put as ‘acting as if.’ Let’s act as if we are chosen. Let’s walk around believing we are beloved. Let’s treat ourselves and each other as forgiven people. Could there be any harm in adopting this attitude? I believe it is very different than believing the lies we tell ourselves.
And what about determination? If we choose to believe what our God believes about us, what does this do to our determination? When I think about the word determination I cannot help but assume that it is action. Whether the goal is a college diploma or a certain level of success in a corporation,these require determination. We cannot just will these things to be so instead we take action- following the necessary course , sometimes we go overboard in reaching these goals. We might even think we make these things happen.The goal becomes vital, necessary and achievable. We become unstoppable.
So back to spiritual courage and determination lived out in our flesh- . What does this look like? Can we approach each day with God’s perspective? Believing we are beloved can only buoy our spirit. Presuming we are chosen changes our outlook. Trusting we are forgiven is a gift we did not earn.
So spiritual courage is trusting God’s perspective. Determination is walking it out.
If our day includes being beloved, chosen and forgiven, what does this do to our determination? My perception would be that it changes our direction. What we are determined to do is a reflection of what we know to be true. For some that would mean helping others know that they too are beloved, chosen, and forgiven.
But it has to begin with us. Can we be determined to believe that we are beloved chosen and forgiven and if so can we act like it?