COURAGE QUEST DEVOS
“This Wallace doesn’t even have a knighthood but he fights with passion and he inspires” – Robert the Bruce
Braveheart is usually a movie that makes it to the top ten list of most men. It is nearly a twenty year old movie and it still continually surfaces in conversations all over America. There was undeniably something about the DNA of this movie that stirs the souls of men (and visionary women) like none other.
Like most of us, the main character in, William Wallace, was a commoner seeking a quiet life of peace and comfort. However, Wallace’s life got interrupted with a tragedy that transformed him from a commoner to a revolutionary. What makes this movie so different than other with similar story lines is that it feels believable. Therefore, we find ourselves lost in the plot curious what we ourselves are capable of and what mission we might be called to. Maybe, just maybe, that is exactly what God wants to bring to light as you read this blog post.
So what was the code that the commoner William Wallace lived by to ignite such a revolution ? Here are 14 of them.
1. A Braveheart leader turns their wounds into weapons
"We married in secret, because I would not share her with an English Lord. They killed her to get to me.”
Wallace’s cause found him through a tragedy. He wanted to settle down and live at peace with his wife – until she was taken away from him. After her death, he felt the pain of so many others throughout his nation. He could have let the pain of her death crush him into a lifelong depression, but he didn’t. He turned his deepest pain into his purpose for living. It is no surprise that many of the most impactful ministries and charities today were birthed out someones crises experience.
Is there any pain in the world that God is asking you to alleviate as your mission?
2. A Braveheart leader is laser focused
“You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position, I think your position exist to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure they have it.”
There were probably many injustices that Wallace could have fought for. He could have fought solely against prima nocte (the right for an English Lord to take a man’s wife for himself on her wedding night) which would have been a just cause. But he chose to go after the root. In one word Wallace chose to fight for: freedom. Wallace’s mission was crystal clear.
In one word, what is the task, mission, or injustice that you feel God wants you to act on?
3. A Braveheart leader leads from the frontlines
"Aye. Fight and you may die. Run and you will live at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now would you be willing to tell our enemies that they may take our lives but they will never take our freedom!"
While the generals from the English army called the shots from behind their men. Wallace battled from the front of the pack. He was not a man of mere words, but a man of frontline action. His calloused hands, bloodied face, and scars were all a major reason so many men wanted to follow him. When men saw Wallace attempt things things that no commoner had attempted before they were awakened to greatness and quickly rallied behind him.
Is your life a daring example of your cause that you are calling people to?
4. A Braveheart leader has contagious courage
“People don’t follow titles, people follow courage”
Wallace did not wave banners to get men to join his cause. He did not have applications. Infact, he told some to go home. But his personal courage and willingness to act on it became contagious. However, it was not just his courage that made people want to join him. It was also the content of his character. A reckless man with courage will have a few followers but a courageous man with character will have an army. It did not take long for Wallace to have an army.
Is your courage for your mission backed by godly character?
5. A Braveheart leader takes initiative
“I am going to pick a fight.”
Wallace was not reactive – he was proactive. He had a forward advancing mentality. He rarely defended himself because he was usually the one with the plan moving forward. His advancements were always strategic and planned. If you are going to make a difference in the world you will have to be a person of initiative. Passivity will get you no where.
When will you seize initiative and begin to advance you God-given mission?
6. A Braveheart leader speaks with words that transform the heart
“First learn to use this (head) then I’ll teach you how to use this (sword)”
Wallace was a warrior poet. Sure everyone wants a Claymore sword after watching Braveheart, but it was the poetry in which he spoke that made him a revolutionary. He never wasted a sentence. He had developed a way of perceiving and discerning what needed to be said. He didn’t use meaningless chatter or lofty paragraphs. He used the right words – clear, concise, and passionate – at the right time. His words pierced the hearts of commoners, nobles, and the Longshanks alike. His 100 second speech at Sterling transformed an army of highlanders and the last word he spoke at his execution is why you left the theatre inspired.
Are you wise and discerning in the way that you speak to those who embrace and oppose your mission?
7. A Braveheart leader is inventive
“Its our wits that make us men”
At a young age Wallace was taught that wits – mental sharpness, keen intelligence, and inventiveness – were more important than the sword. Mindless rage warfare would only take him so far with the odds stacked against him. So he continually observed his surroundings and came up with ground breaking strategies. He came up with creative tactics that no one had ever thought about before, which constantly threw his enemies off guard. His success in battle was primarily due to his ability to invent, not due to the strength of their numbers, skill, or weapons
What creative ideas do you have in place for your mission?
8. A Braveheart leader surrounds himself with like-minded comrades
“Your a madman”…”I’ve come to the right place then.”
Wallace led hundreds of men, but he seemed to draw much of his strength from his madmen friends the Irishmen and his childhood friend. These three men stood together in the midst of ridicule from their enemies and fellow commoners alike. Their bond was deep, their conversations were transparent, and they had each others back.
Who has your back in the mission you are embarking on?
9. A Braveheart leader is optimistic in the face of the impossible.
“Why…why is that impossible?”
Nearly every word spoken from Wallace was full of optimism and hope for his nation. When the nobles argued about making negotiations with the English, Wallace silently walked away. When declaring that he would invade England, he was ridiculed by the very men that had just knighted him. His belief in the impossible, stirred so deeply in Robert the Bruce that Robert told his dying father that he wanted to believe like Wallace believed. What some saw as impossible barriers Wallace saw as hurdles to climb over.
What are the impossible barriers that you will face as you embrace your mission?
10. A Braveheart leader empowers others
“You are the rightful leader and there is strength in you. I see it”
Perhaps one of the key traits of Wallace becoming a revolutionary was his ability to see the God-given potential in others. He didn’t belittle his followers, he elevated them. He declared that his fighting men were free men at the battle of Sterling. He also took the liberty to tell the future King of Scotland that there was strength in him to lead his people to freedom, and he held nothing back to tell the future queen of England that she must open her eyes when she becomes queen. All of these people rose to his expectations.
Do you empower and release people who rally around your cause or stifle them?
11. A Braveheart leader gets strength from God
“I am so afraid. Give me the strength to die well” (Prayer)
Wallace did not rely on his own strength. He knelt in humility to God before battle and death. He recognized the true giver of strength and courage and he humbly spoke to God. The strength, strategies, and resources of men can only go so far without God, but the man who fears God and follows his leading walks in wisdom.
Is God your source of strength and direction for your mission?
12. A Braveheart leader is willing to die for what he believes in
“every man dies, but not every man really lives”
Many will give their lives to a mission in life but few would give up their lives for it. The mission Wallace had set out on was so connected to his heart that he was ready and willing to give his life for it. His freedom fighting mission was the one thing that took him from existing to living. When he was willing to make the ultimate sacrifices to see freedom became a reality.
What sacrifices would you be willing to make to advance your mission?
13. A Braveheart leader does not waver
“If I swear to him, then all I am is dead already.”
Wallace would not bend to his enemies pleas or even drink a medicine to numb his pain at his execution. He would do nothing that would make them think that they had the upper hand. Even during his torturous death when the enemy thinks he is going to recant, Wallace yells that famous word: FREEDOM! He went to the end. He finished strong and never wavered.
What temptations do you foresee that could squelch your mission ?
14. A Braveheart leader leaves a legacy
“You have bled with Wallace. Now bleed with me!”
Throughout the movie Wallace carries a cloth that continually reminds him why he is living out his mission. It was his love for his wife and the suffering of people of Scotland that had initially moved him to action. After his death the cloth dropped out of his hand and it was later found in the armor of Scotland’s new King, Robert the Bruce. Wallace’s passion for freedom was carried forward until Scotland ultimately won its freedom.
How will your mission continue to advance beyond your lifetime?
15. A Braveheart leader ……………….?
In your opinion, what would you say is the 15th trait of a Braveheart Leader? Feel free to leave your answer in the comments below.
The Bible is full of inspiring “braveheart speeches” that are given before someone does something that is potentially life threatening. Here are a few from the Old Testament that hopefully serve as a source of encouragement to you in your own walk with Christ:
God to Joshua before going into Canaan’s Land
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9
Caleb to the cowardly Israelites
Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it….the land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” Numbers 13:30- 14:9
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego before going into the furnace
“King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver usc from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18
Esther to Mordechai before risking her life
“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16
Gideon to his army of 300
“Watch me…Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do. When I and all who are with me blow our trumpets, then from all around the camp blow yours and shout, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon.’ ” Judges 7:17
Deborah to a cowardly leader
“The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you [Barak]: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands….certainly I will go with you [Barak], but because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman. ….Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera into your hands. Has not the Lord gone ahead of you?” Judges 4:6-14
David to Goliath
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LordAlmighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-47
Jonathan speaking to his Armor Bearer
“Come on, let’s go over to where the Philistines have their outpost…Let’s go across to the outpost of those pagans,” Jonathan said to his armor bearer. “Perhaps the LORD will help us, for nothing can hinder the LORD. He can win a battle whether he has many warriors or only a few!…We will cross over and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Stay where you are or we’ll kill you,’ then we will stop and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come on up and fight,’ then we will go up. That will be the LORD’s sign that he will help us defeat them.” 1 Samuel 14: 1-12
Joab to his brother Abishai
“If the Syrians are too strong for me, then you shall help me, but if the Ammonites are too strong for you, then I will help you. Be strong, and let us use our strength for our people and for the cities of our God, and may the LORD do what seems good to him.” 1 Chronicles 19:13
I know that there are more. If you got a favorite one I missed leave it in the comment section.
There seems to be few courageous men of the faith today. Whenever we talk about courageous Christians they are often people from the past. But I have a dream that one day the people of the faith will recapture a daring spirit for God that follows after Him wholeheartedly.
One of those ancient characters who modeled courage was a man that John Maxwell referred to as the Braveheart of the Bible. He encompassed outstanding courage in the face of physical threat from not only his enemies, but also his allies. He stood out of the crowd. He was a man’s man. Some scholars believe he was even an outsider…a gentile who dwelled among the Israelites. He is my all time favorite warrior from the Bible. However I have to admit that I am extremely bias, because we share the same name. He was known to the Israelites as Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite.
In 1977 when my mother was trying to come up with a name for her firstborn (me), many people tried to detour her from choosing the name Caleb. “He is going to hate that name,” they told her. “No one has ever heard a name like that before.” But regardless of the opinions she named me Caleb without even knowing that it was a Bible character. In 1977 is was ranked number 274 among the “popular” names of boys, however it was recently ranked the 17th most popular baby name for a boy. I am not sure how the trend got started, but I am still the oldest Caleb that I know.
Despite my mother’s advisers, I actually like my name, but it does seem to get a variety of interactions of people.
Numbers 13:17 reads:
17 Moses gave the men these instructions as he sent them out to explore the land: “Go north through the Negev into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like, and find out whether the people living there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 See what kind of land they live in. Is it good or bad? Do their towns have walls, or are they unprotected like open camps? 20 Is the soil fertile or poor? Are there many trees? Do your best to bring back samples of the crops you see.” (It happened to be the season for harvesting the first ripe grapes.)21 So they went up and explored the land ….
After they returned from 40 days of exploration they returned and gave the following report to Moses and the entire community of Israelites.
“We entered the land you sent us to explore, and it is indeed a bountiful country—a land flowing with milk and honey. Here is the kind of fruit it produces. Numbers 13:25-27.
One of these bountiful regions was once known as Hebron. This region was once a favorite dwelling place of Abraham and a burial place for Sarah (Gen. 23:17-20). Now it was the land that Caleb had set his gaze on. But there was a problem. Years prior, Hebron had been captured by a renown warrior of giant stature known as Arba. The city was renamed after him and Hebron was no more. Arba then had a son named Anak, who was known to be the greatest among his people. Anak also had three sons who followed carried on his “giant” reputation – Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. These sons and their clans now roamed this territory and it would not be taken without a fight.
Some of the scouts then reported the rest of the story to the people and it caused an uproar of panic in the camp. 28BUT the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there, the descendants of AnaK. The descendants of Anak were known as the strong or tall necked people. In fact, their was a popular saying in that region that said “Who can stand against the Anakites?” (Dt 9:2) They were famous because of their unconquerable reputation and legends were told that they were distant ancestors of the most feared men who had ever set foot on the planet…the Nephilem.
The US Army coined the phrase, “there is strong an then there is Army Strong”. Well, I am sure that many in this era would have declared there is strong and then there is Anakim strong. No surprise, that Anakim was the chosen name for Darth Vader in the Star Wars series.
Being a visual learner, I like to try to grasp stories like this. How big were these boys? Was it a hoax or were they really giants.
Here is what we know about a few giants from the past.
The very thought of facing three renown clans of giants stirred a panic among the Israelites and lets be honest it would have probably done the same to many of us. When the odds are stacked against us or the risks feel to high then all we can often see is our inabilities.
Instead of looking favorably in this circumstance ten of the spies calculated the risks by looking at what they didn’t have.
But Caleb tried to quiet the people as they stood before Moses. “Let’s go at once to take the land,” he said. “We can certainly conquer it!” Numbers 13:30
Caleb’s three second speech didn’t have the effect he was hoping. In defense, ten of the spies quickly tried to set Caleb straight.
“We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are!” So they spread this bad report about the land among the Israelites: “The land we traveled through and explored will devour anyone who goes to live there. All the people we saw were huge. 33 We even saw giants there, NEPHELIM, (The descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). Next to them we felt like grasshoppers, and that’s what they thought, too!” Numbers 13:32,33
Grasshoppers. Ten explorers went to the lowest of lows and labeled their entire tribe after a small easily broken insect. The worst part of the story is that the thousands gathered agreed that they were nothing more than that…grasshoppers.
If you are not careful you will discover that Grasshopper talkers can take you out by plaguing you with fear. Grasshopper talkers have a habit of…
“The land we traveled through and explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”
Caleb and Joshua did not calculate the risks like the other ten men. They did not look at what they were capable of. They looked at what God has capable of doing through them. They didn’t look at what they did’t have. They looked at what they did have.
Regardless of the urgency and truth of their speech the crowd didn’t budge like it did for Wallace’s men. Infact, the people considered stoning Caleb and Joshua because of their fearless faith.
It’s easy to criticize the ten spies for their cowardly way of thinking, but would you have been any different. Imagine being one of the spies who returned. Your wife and children embrace you before you give a report. Thoughts of entering a barbaric land with those you deeply love would put any man’s faith to the test. It’s one thing to endanger your life…its another to endanger the lives of others.
But Caleb had a different perspective. He had an outstanding amount of courage. I have heard it said that courage is not the absence of fear but the willingness to confront it. I agree, but after examining the life of Caleb I seriously don’t think he had fear. He appears to have obtained a level of fearlessness in his walk with God. So how did he get this fearless courage? I think that we find the foundation to his daring valor in the Lord’s definition of Caleb in Numbers 14:24 :
But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.
This passage is not a man’s perspective about Caleb, it is uttered from the mouth of God. It is God’s one sentence definition of who Caleb was. Imagine God looking upon you and saying that you have a different spirt than others, because you follow him with your WHOLE HEART. I think those that follow Christ with all their hearts will always be rare. So many of us serve God with part of our heart, but Caleb gives us an example of what it looks like to follow Him with everything.
Here is a challenging thought. How would God define you in a sentence? Could He describe you like he did Caleb? Are you among the few serving Him with all your heart?
It didn’t go well for the Israelites who chose fear over faith. The ten spies died soon after because of their disobedience, their second guessing got some of them killed, and the remnant headed back into the desert as wandering nomads. Forty years later that generation died, except for Caleb and Joshua. Caleb endured wandering aimlessly, persevered through the trials of the desert, and lost many of his close friends.
After Moses died Joshua was put into the leadership role of the Israelites. He led them across the Jordan and into the land of promise. All these years later Caleb had not forgotten about the bountiful country with the giants that Moses had promised him. And at the ripe age of eighty five he clears he presents his final request to Joshua:
“Now then, just as the LORD promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the desert. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.”
Most of us think we have past our prime once we hit 40 or 50. I felt that way when I hit 30. Don’t laugh. I was noticing a few gray hairs and that I couldn’t keep up with the younger guys on the basketball court. I’m passed my prime I thought.
But after reading the story of Caleb. How could I at any age say that to myself. In Christ I am always in my prime. With the Holy Spirit inside of me I am always in my prime. Infact, I have told my self that whenever I hit a new decade I am going to take a look at myself in the mirror and say, “I’m in my prime. This is my season.”
Caleb Bislow the author of Dangerous and founder of Unusual Soldiers.