As the world continues to spin on its axis (even if it has moved 3 feet), humans not only spin with it but are spinning more and more out of control. There are no words to explain a student threatened with expulsion because he told a fellow student that she was not a cat, but a girl.
We all know and appreciate that living godly in this type of environment calls upon us to make tough decisions on a very regular basis. We can’t pretend that it is easy to swim against the current – particularly since the current is becoming swifter.
However, this presents us with opportunities. We understand that character is something that has to be built. It is not an automatic aspect of the human mind. We are faced with choices and by making wise choices according to the understanding we have from God, character is built steadily over time.
The building of our character requires moral courage on our part.
There are many examples of people who display physical courage in dangerous situations. Some even lay their life on the line to help or protect others. But we are seeing fewer and fewer examples of moral courage. As the term implies, moral courage means the courage to place morality above pleasing self. It is challenging to do what is morally right when everyone around us is doing something different.
A great biblical example recorded for our encouragement is that of the three young Jewish men who had been set over the affairs of the province of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar set up an image of gold and he decreed that everyone was to bow down and worship it. This presented a moral dilemma for these three young men who were aware of God’s command not to worship idols.
Their statement to the king after he laid out their punishment for non-compliance is instructive. “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).
So here we see all the essential pieces we need for building character. Moral courage begins with understanding what God’s morality requires. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were in a relationship with God, so they had a foundation for the decision facing them. Their foundation was a knowledge of the law. They understood that to live godly, the law of God must not be broken — even under duress.
Their moral courage was to put God first and trust Him for the ultimate outcome. Sometimes moral courage must be expressed even if it appears to be to our hurt. Hurt is temporary, whereas moral courage will lead to an everlasting reward. Trust in God is essential.
In a sexually perverted and degenerate world, our young people face many situations that have the same elements in them as these three men faced. They need our prayers for the moral courage they need to make good decisions.
We all need to be very aware of what the will of God is and then be prepared to make decisions that keep us in compliance with that will. Decision by decision, holy righteous character will be built.