There is a cost to courage.
Courage is not following the course already laid out. Courage is not re-hashing what has already been said. Courage is not doing what has already been done. Courage is not agreeing with what has already been thought.
Courage is the God-given strength to take the course no one has taken yet; to speak what no one else has the boldness to speak; to challenge the way things have always worked; and to make decisions that are sure to be unpopular.
Action without precedent.
This is true courage.
Courage is often represented as a fierce warrior going to battle - fully armored and ready to take on whatever comes - fearlessness in the eyes.
This is the appealing vision of courage. It is heroic and winsome. It is what those who lack courage idolize.
But to those who truly walk the road of courage it rarely looks or feels like that.
The woman who shares her beliefs in a college classroom and is subsequently mocked, labeled, and written-off does not feel like a fierce warrior - but a better example of courage I cannot fathom.
The man who speaks out against corruption and will probably lose his job because of it does not feel like a fierce warrior - but he is walking the road of courage.
The pastor who makes a decision that he knows is going to be unpopular and will lose people from his congregation does not feel like a fierce warrior - but this is where true courage is born.
Those who walk the road of courage are rarely seen riding proudly on a horse with a sword in their hand; they are more likely found in their room, on their knees, in tears, begging God for strength.
This is true courage.
Most of us like the image of courage - the glory, the accolades, the victory - but real courage is rarely celebrated, often ignored, and comes with a price.
In reality, very few truly answer the call of courage.
But more of us would answer the call of courage if our scorecard for courage was different.
You see, the scorecard of courage is typically measured by "what will people think" rather than "what does God want."
The need to please and the desire to be liked can infiltrate and halt the progress of courage.
When my desire to please God outranks my desire to please people then I have a fighting chance at being courageous.
Until then, I can idolize the image of the warrior on the horse but never experience the joy of true courage.
Is there joy in courage?
Though you walk through the fire of courage the smile of God is palpable.
Is there a cost to courage?
But to those who pay the price comes the supernatural sense of peace in knowing that they are pleasing God.
And ultimately, this is all that truly matters.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9).