We continue tonight in our series of discussions on cardinal values. Last time out, we considered Prudence. This evening we’d proceed to consider Fortitude.
What is fortitude? The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines Fortitude as “strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage“
Or simply put: Strength in adversity. Whilst this particularly word wasn’t exactly used in the scriptures, I think that even a cursory perusing of scriptures would immediately reveal to the reader, the “commonplace” of adversity in the experience of the adherents of the life that the scripture sets forth and their stance in the face such experiences.
Listen to the Apostle Peter:
1 Peter 5:9
Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
The Amplified and Goodness translation renders the same verse above as:
1 Peter 5:9
AMP: Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset–rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world.
GNT: Be firm in your faith and resist him, because you know that other believers in all the world are going through the same kind of sufferings.
I’m presently trying to establish the ubiquitous nature of this experience of suffering. Of facing and going through adversity. I do not intend to say that only Christians go through adversity. That wouldn’t be true, we live in a broken world.
However, I only intend to tease out the prescribed disposition for the believer, for among such, I am numbered.
So, we had previously said that fortitude in simple terms is strength in adversity. But what do we mean by this and how is it possible? Fortitude has a companion called perseverance, essentially the ability to press on towards the desired outcome in the face of opposition. Together they make for steadiness and stability in difficult times.
The Apostle Peter gave solid counsel in the above verse. He said: be firm in faith [against his onset–rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined]
And I know that you immediately wonder, how do we get the strength, that is needed in those days or seasons? I’d use the analogy of gymnastics. A gymnast trains every day, going through the disciplines and regimens because he knows that one day, he will be on stage, the spotlight will be the brightest and he will be required to perform as it were. His ability to deliver therefore to a great extent is determined by the quality of the training he has submitted to and fulfilled. A similar mechanism is at work here. Our daily experiences, exposure, and preparations go a long way to build faith and convictions, solid enough to bear us when that “day” comes.
There is a second mechanism. It is called the renewal of strength.
But those who wait for the LORD’s help find renewed strength; they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings, they run without growing weary, they walk without getting tired.
So we see, that another way to strength in adversity and broadly speaking, is waiting on and trusting in God.
So in the words of Apostle Paul:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Fortitude in the final analysis for the believer is a function of his relationship with the Lord and his appropriate utilization of the resources available consequent to that relationship.