I tried to punch my limitations in the neck, and they punched me back. They’re not going to go down as easily as I thought they would.
On my first longer training run, I aggravated a calf muscle. I’ve been itching to get back out and run, but it’s going to have to wait a few more days.
In the meanwhile, for the last three days I’ve started my morning reading with the same verse. Judges 11:1
“Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, and he was the son of a harlot….”
Bet you didn’t see that coming.
He was a brave man, and his mom sold her body for sex.
You know what’s so intriguing to me? The conjunction that separates the two independent clauses that make up the sentence. Don’t let me lose you with that fancy grammar talk. Look at it this way….although it may not seem like it, “and” tells a totally different story from “but.”
It gives me hope that God’s Word says that he “…was a mighty man of valor, and…”
“And,” in the context here, is the kind of word that punches limitations in the neck. “But” would be the kind of word that gives in to those limitations. Here, “and” rises above it all. If it were “but” it would be a resignation.
Jephthah had a good excuse. His mother was a prostitute. That’s a pretty nice size social limitation right there.
Society would give Jephthah two strikes, right in the beginning. Before he ever had a chance.
He was illegitimate, and his mom got paid for it.
Sinful and shameful, yes, but certainly not beyond the scope of grace.
Look again at how the Bible speaks first of his bravery and then of his challenge.
Courage is not hereditary. A brave father doesn’t always produce a brave son. |Tweet This|
Heroism is a product of our environment. It’s not something that’s passed down from generation to generation. Courage is a learned response. It’s much more fight than flight, in the face of fear.
We’re not born with that kind of determination. We’re not born with bravery encoded in our DNA. That decision isn’t already made up for us. We’ve got to make it for ourselves.
Courage is not letting your past determine your future. Jephthah wouldn’t let his mother’s profession or his illegitimacy limit his success in life. A day arrived when his half-brothers threw him out of the house and said he would never benefit from his father’s inheritance.
But the Bible calls him a mighty man on purpose, and when the tribe Gilead needed a leader, they didn’t call those half-brothers that kicked him out. They called Jephthah, and when it came time to go to battle, they really didn’t care what his mother had done for a living.
They needed a leader. They needed a warrior. They needed fearlessness and fortitude and Jephthah had it, in spite and in part, because of his limitations.
Courage isn’t letting your past decide your future, but…
Courage is not even letting your present determine your future. |Tweet This|
David was a shepherd when he slew Goliath. He didn’t mince words about titles or job descriptions. His audacity outweighed his lack of formal training. Moses was a fugitive, twice disowned when God called him to lead. Joseph was a wrongly accused but convicted felon after having been sold as a slave by his jealous brothers when the Lord raised him up.
Bravery is character forged through heartache and ridicule and difficulties. |Tweet This|
So, no matter what your battle may be today, fight it. Don’t run from it.
Make others describe you with an and instead of a but.