Courage to Stand

26 04 2011

“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” Abraham Lincoln

Stand Firm!

This statement struck me this morning and my heart was immediately drawn to Joshua 1. Lincoln’s advice is not at all different from God’s command to Joshua as he anticipated leading God’s people. God commands Joshua to “be strong and of good courage.” In other words, “Stand! Stand firm!!” We know that standing firm takes courage, but if standing firm is all that good leadership entailed then we could honestly say that Hitler was a good leader, after all he stood firm. There are many historical and current leaders in our world who possess great courage to stand firm, but the foundation on which they stand is what presents the problem.

In the Right Place!

So the key to the formula of good leadership, or I should say, godly leadership is found in the first part of Lincoln’s advice: “Be sure you put your feet in the right place.” Did God say anything similar to Joshua? The answer is a resounding yes! In Joshua 1:7-8 God commands Joshua to plant his feet firmly in the Word of God and then stand firm! So those who seek to be godly leaders must recognize that it’s not just that we stand firm, but of primary importance is the foundation on which we stand…namely, and hopefuly, the Word of God.

Trouble’s Coming!

There’s another aspect of this whole line of thinking that is important for us. The fact that we are called to plant our feet in the right place and then to stand firm signifies that opposition is coming. Those who stand firmly on principle and live by conviction rather than by convenience are promised that they will face opposition. This opposition will threaten even the most stable leaders. Joshua is called upon to remember that it is God who has commanded him. Just as a soldier obeys the commands of his Commander in Chief, God’s leader is to hear One voice. Then the assurance comes, “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” For the godly leader the presence of God is all that he or she needs to build the confidence and the courage to stand firm in the right place.

What about me?

As a pastor, I struggle with hearing so many voices. This is probably why this quote from Lincoln struck me when I read it this morning. In church world, everyone has opinions and many people feel as though their opinion has to be heard. I confess that I’m still learning to sift through the “noise” of all of the opinions, including my own, and hear the voice of the One who commands me. I believe it’s true that we live in a world that is driven by convenience rather than conviction. However, many of us who seek to live by conviction need to occasionally stop and take inventory of where our feet are planted. Are they planted on the Word of God? Are they planted on personal preferences? Are they planted on tradition?

What about you?

Where are your feet planted? What are you standing for? What voice are you listening to? What are the competing voices that are maybe attempting to drown out that one voice? Feel free to comment below.


Lord, my heart’s desire is to stand on the Word of God and nothing else. It is Your voice and I want to hear it. Help me to sift through all of the other voices that threaten to drown out the only voice that matters and give me wisdom and courage to stand firm in the place where You would have me to stand.



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