The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow. (Jim Hightower)
Maybe it’s because I’m the youngest of four children, or perhaps it’s my basic personality, but I’ve always been able to “go with the flow.” I’m generally okay with letting others make decisions and adapting to whatever happens. That flexibility has served me well in many ways.
However, the quote above points out the potential downfalls of a somewhat passive mentality. It’s a short distance between flexibility and conformity. Going with the flow is okay if the current is flowing close to Christ. More often than not, however, culture’s current flows in the opposite direction; and if we’re not careful, it can carry us much further away from Him than we ever intended.
As Hightower suggests, stepping out of the current to avoid its harmful effects requires courage. It takes guts to be different – to say “no” to friends or family. Only courageous people draw lines in the sand and refuse to step over them. Frankly, it takes courage to look at the river’s forceful current and decide to swim upstream all day, every day. The temptation to stop fighting and allow ourselves to just float along is sometimes overwhelming.
This battle between courage and conformity has been raging since the dawn of time. Paul once addressed it with these words:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:1-2)
Avoiding conformity to this world is not only courageous, it’s sacrificial. And God sees that sacrifice as a form of worship which pleases Him greatly. So, just keep swimming! After all, dead fish stink! –Dave
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