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Summary: Week one in a four week series on the essentials for conquerors.

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25, January 2004

Dakota Community Church

The Essentials

The Essential Characteristics of Conquerors

WEEK ONE: COURAGE

Introduction:

A lady died in 1916 named Hetty Green. She was called America’s greatest miser. When she died, she left an estate valued at $100 million. But she was so miserly that she ate cold oatmeal in order to save the expense of heating the water. When her son had a severe leg injury, she took so long trying to find a free clinic to treat him that his leg had to be amputated because of advanced infection. I am sure she was worried about losing her wealth, so she didn’t even enjoy her life!

Fear is a thief!

It will paralyze you, keep you lonely, lead you to make foolish decisions, and eventually rob you of life itself unless you master it.

Mastering fear requires courage!

Conquerors posses the courage to defeat their fears!

(A.) What is courage? How does it look?

We tend to equate courage with heroism - firefighters running into a burning building, soldiers preparing for battle, police arresting an armed criminal.

We think of extreme sports like bungee jumping, or free climbing; activities that involve a great We think of courage as something extraordinary, something unusual; something people are called upon to exhibit only in dangerous, life-threatening situations.

But most of the time, we don’t think we need it. Most of the time, we view our lives as being governed by more mundane character qualities, like honesty, and integrity, and faithfulness.

We just don’t see "courage" coming into play very often. But that point of view is mistaken. Courage is not the same thing as heroism. Courage is not just for extreme situations. In fact, courage is basic to the exercise of every other virtue.

Dictionary definition:

Courage is the state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes (sudden changes in life) with self-possession, confidence, and resolution, bravery.

I think Mark Twain described it best. He said: "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear-not absence of fear."

It takes courage to be honest all the time.

- Why do we lie?

- Why don’t we just state the truth, clearly and completely?

- We fear the consequences. What people might think? We’re afraid of losing something - money; our hopes for a promotion at work, our reputation, our mate’s trust and confidence, the respect of our family members, our position at church. And so we fail to be completely honest, because we lack courage.

Confession, as they say, is good for the soul, but it can be bad for the reputation.

- A lack of diligence could be due to a fear of failure.

- An unwillingness to share your faith can result from a fear of rejection.

- A refusal to serve others with our time and talents may stem from a fear of being taken advantage of and exploited.

- We stop giving because we fear the economic times,

Courage is foundational to virtually every virtue. So much so that it’s really impossible to mature in Christ without it. It’s impossible to consistently live in obedience to Christ, and to have fellowship with him, and please him, as long as we’re dominated by fear instead of courage. And that’s why this topic is so important, so central to our daily lives as followers of Christ. Without courage, all of our other virtues will be weak and easily compromised. They’ll fade away at the slightest challenge. In order for us to be strong, God-honoring disciples, we must exercise courage.


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