The Clumsiness of Courage

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.) So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” — John 18:10-11

Sometimes, even well-meaning believers do stupid things. We do these things because we have not taken the time to reflect and fully understand the sovereignty of God. We act quickly in courage, but the action comes out clumsy. It might even result in harm that embarrasses us. As a result, it draws attention away from what God is doing to what we are doing. And no one knows this better than Peter.

Believing men should be courageous. Peter was right to be courageous. He wanted to defend Jesus. But his motivation of courage and action of courage needed to be sovereignly aligned. Because they were not, his courage just looked clumsy, and he ended up doing something stupid that harmed someone and embarrassed himself. Have you been there? We have all been there. Even Will Smith learned this hard lesson when he slapped Chris Rock at the Academy Awards (March 2022). Was it courageous motivation to defend his wife? "Yes." Was it the right courageous action? "No!" Thus, Will's wrong courageous action became the focus of the world's attention.

Yet here's the issue. We learn to align courageous motivation with courageous action clumsily. But, if we are willing to learn, make adjustments, and submit to God's sovereign plan, eventually, we will discover what Godly courage looks like. Courage is defending Jesus but doing it the way Jesus wants it done. Often, this brings harm to ourselves more than others because courage requires sacrifice.

So get out there and be courageous, but do it the way Jesus did it — sacrificially.


In your own life, can you recall a moment when your well-intentioned actions didn't align with God's sovereign plan, resulting in unintended consequences? What did you learn from that experience?

How can you ensure that your courage aligns with Jesus' example of sacrificial courage in your daily actions and decisions, especially in situations where defending your faith or principles is required?

DO THIS: Integrated your courageous motivation with God's courageous plan.

PRAY THIS: Father, help me align my courage with Your divine plan so that my actions may reflect the sacrificial courage demonstrated by Jesus. Guide me in defending my faith and principles with wisdom and love. Amen.

PLAY THIS: Courageous.

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Read through the Bible daily with Vince Miller.

4 thoughts on “The Clumsiness of Courage

  1. Dennis James says:

    This is good. I needed this today. More often than I would like to admit I react with courage out of a fleshly reaction. I need to practice the type of reactions that Jesus wants me to. I guess you can say use a “controlled courage”

  2. Jason says:

    Courage- knowing this is going to hurt oneself, being willing to be made a fool, appearing to be weak, withstanding betrayal, isolation, mocking, all for His name, even among those who claim to be His followers… and being willing to do it bc that’s what the sovereignty of God requires and the surrender of Jesus Christ exemplifies. Wow, Thank you for talking about courage. It’s a track that we’ve been on in our study through the Revelation…endure persecution patiently, obey God’s commands, remain faithful to Jesus Christ! Rev 14:12 NLT

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