Written By Eddie Vines
Eddie Vines is a former Jefferson county Judge and currently serves as President of Faith Fortress Ministries
The third Cardinal virtue, and the next in our series, is fortitude. Fortitude is the quality that strengthens one to not only know the right thing to do but to actually do it; sometimes under trying circumstances. Unlike wisdom which helps a person to make right moral decisions, fortitude provides the determination one needs to move forward in a right moral direction. Thomas Aquinas asserted that fortitude underpins the virtues of prudence and justice.
Fortitude is akin to courage but is not rash or reckless. It doesn’t reflect bravado but rather a calm resolve. An example of fortitude from the Bible would be the steady, principled manner in which King Josiah of Judah methodically set about pulling down the pagan alters that had been erected under previous kings.
Another place in the Bible where we find an incredible act of fortitude is in the 7th chapter of the Book of Acts. Here we read of Stephen standing up before the Jewish leaders and recounting a brief history of Israel’s relationship with God and ultimately confronting them with their sin of persecuting God’s prophets. This bold indictment was incredible considering that Stephen understood that such words could cost him his life; and they did.
Throughout the days of the early Christian church followers of Jesus demonstrated fortitude time and time again as they were tortured, crucified, fed to lions, and murdered in other unspeakable ways. In today’s world the pressure to follow the culture on matters of morality has never been stronger. It is not enough for Christians to simply read the Bible and learn what God expects from us, we must be resolved to live out the teachings of Scripture so that we may both honor God and model virtuous living for a lost world.