How can leaders grow in courage?

Elijah was intimidated by Jezebel. Timothy was intimidated by the elders in Ephesus. Peter was intimidated by a servant-girl. As long as a leader succumbs to timidity he or she will be ineffective and unable to complete his or her mandate from the Lord. Every leader in life – whether on the battlefield, in the courtroom or in the boardroom – needs to overcome timidity and take courage in the face of conflict.

Look at this short introductory video where De Waal Esterhuizen shares on ho to grow in leadership courage.


Daniel 3 [selected verses]

1 King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold… 6  [and declared that] whoever does not fall down and worship [the golden image] shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.”

9  [Some Chaldeans] declared to King Nebuchadnezzar,  12  “There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

14  Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15  Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of [the musical instruments] to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”

16  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17  If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18  But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

19  Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated 20 …and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace… 22  Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23  And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace. 24  Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25  He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” 26  Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. 27  And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. 28  Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29  Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” 30  Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

Observation and reflection questions

  1. What do you suspect did these three men felt when they were arrested and brought before the king?
  2. Why did the three men refuse to bow down to the golden image Nebuchadnezzar has set up? [verses 16-18]
  3. What is the reason why these three had to take courage? [hint: why did they not bow down…?]
  4. The three men were not alone in the fire. What does that suggest about their ability to be remain courageous? (verses 24-24)
  5. Look at verses 24-30 and note what was the effect of these three men’s courageous faithfulness to God on:
    1. The emperor Nebuchadnezzar:
    2. The civil servants working in and around the palace:
    3. The Babylonian empire:
    4. The Jews:
    5. The three men:
  6. What was the cost of these three men’s courage?
  7. What was the reward of these three men’s courage?

Personal reflection and prayer

Because Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego courageously refused to bow down to an idol the emperor threw into the fire, but the Lord Himself strengthened and preserved them in the fire. As result the king and his entire palace saw God’s power and a decree was written that God should be honored in the entire empire.

  1. Were you ever challenged to stand for what is right got flack for it? What was the challenge and what was the effect of that courage?
  2. What or who intimidates you? Why?
    1. Timidity usually leads to not standing up for what is right. What is the potential cost of this timidity?
    2. Confess your timidity to the Lord.
    3. Confess with Paul “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7) [fear here means the “timidity”].
    4. Pray that God will fill you with the spirit of power and courage to stand up for what is right, and to represent the Lord well.
    5. Plan and prepare a response for this person or situation which usually intimidates you. It might be good to rehearse the response with a friend. Pray that the fear of God will be greater that the fear of man.

How do leaders grow in confidence?

Confident acts of leaders sets the tone of confidence in the environment they influence.  Confidence is essential for the moral and aspirations of a group.  But how do you grow in confidence?

In the following inspirational video De Waal Esterhuizen shares on how to grow in confident leadership.


1 Samuel 17:19-51

[Goliath the Philistine giant challenges the armies of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines; David heard his cursing and said to King Saul]

32  And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33  And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” 34  But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, 35  I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36  Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37  And David said, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”

38  Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, 39  and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. 40  Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.

41  And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42  And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 43  And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44  The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” 45  Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46  This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47  and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.” 48  When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49  And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. 50  So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him… 51 When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52  And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron…

Observation and reflection questions

  1. David was very confident that he would prevail over the giant veteran worrier Goliath – why? [verses 34-37]  What does this teach you about gaining confidence?
  2. King Saul tried to help David to feel secure in battle with the giant – what did he do and why did it not help? [verses 38-40]  What does this teach you about gaining confidence?
  3. David was very confident in the face of Goliath’s mockery and threats – where did he place his confidence? [verse 45-47] What does that teach you about gaining confidence?
  4. What was the consequence of David’s act of confidence?  [verses 51-52]  What does this teach you about gaining confidence?

Personal reflection questions and prayer

David was a young man with no experience in battle, yet he was the only one willing to face Goliath the giant.  His confidence was in the ever-Present, Living Lord who had carried him through bad situations in the past; he was secure in the love and power of the Lord.  Every challenge he faced helped him grow in confidence, knowing the Lord had preserved him.

  1. David was confident to face the giant because he had slain a lion and a bear in the past. What can you remind yourself in which the Lord had given you success?
  2. Consider your biggest present-day challenge (either personal or family or friend):
    • Why is this a big challenge for you? Can you do it yourself or do you need God’s grace?
    • What have you faced that is similar to this? How has the Lord brought you through past experiences?
    • Look at David’s declaration to the giant in verses 45-47; now make your own declaration of faith in God and “speak to your giant” out loud. By faith say how this situation will end.
  3. Thank God for what he had brought you through in the past. Now pray to God and ask him for confidence and fearlessness to act in faith. Declare your trust in Him!