Christian Counseling: Got Moxie? Get Some!

It is amazing to me how many Christian men have become near pacifists (having an attitude of nonresistance) by detaching themselves from much of their anger and moxie (force of character, determination, nerve). The reasons for such are varied, but prominent are the call to the Christian virtue of submission and a wearing down process leading to resignation.

The elimination of anger altogether is quietly held by the majority of Christians to be a sign of maturity. However, self-control and the proper use of anger, even hatred, is the Biblical example held out to us, as seen in the attitude and actions of God and His scriptural commands (Proverbs 8:13; Psalm 139:21; Ephesians 4:26; James 1:19). Anger is often feared for its destructive ability and, as a result, needs to be handled cautiously.  But anger is also very necessary and has positive aspects: motivates to action, protects person and property, overcomes fear and is a righteous response to injustice.   

God expects every one of His children to have a submissive or yielding spirit. It is a needed and prized virtue, but absolute submission (pacifism) is a distortion of God's intent and desire.  We all must learn when to submit and when to go against the grain. There are many times we need to wrestle with others and even with God as Jacob (Genesis 32:22-31).

Most of us are susceptible to being worn down, losing hope, giving up and resigning ourselves to the unrelenting force of another over time. When this happens, communication, self-expression, assertiveness and moxie eventually pack their bags and leave us disillusioned, passive and somewhat depressed. Some say it isn't the life they ordered. Add to that, it isn't the life God prepared for them either. Without question, God wants us to live life to the fullest. But we must cooperate with His plan. Without moxie, we will surely miss His plan. 


To some Christians, moxie seems to be equated with self-centered and demanding behavior or attitudes. Some fear showing their force of character because of self-doubt or offending others and, thereby, inviting criticism. Therefore, they avoid self-expression in favor of self-protection. They surrender their moxie to keep the peace. In truth, they surrender their soul to a life partially lived, are made vulnerable to the consequences of dangerous, repressed emotions and become slaves to the perceived wishes of others.

One can have moxie and still be submissive, as well as tempered in the expression of anger. One can be tough and tender, firm and flexible, assertive and submissive, and other-centered while strongly following one's own convictions without compromise.  

The prophets, disciples, Paul and Jesus had moxie. Their force of expression of their values, of their beliefs in right and wrong, of protecting those in their care, and of spiritual things led to righteous confrontations and conflicts, necessary strife and the healthy offending of others. 

Moxie is like a strong electrical current that needs a finger of courage to flip the on switch and a mind led by wisdom who knows when to release the force. Exercising one's moxie is part of faith. Faith that it is right to take a stand on what one believes. Faith that God will give one courage when he or she steps out in self-expression. Faith that He will support those that are His and one's righteous actions. Faith that He will redeem His own from all wounds in due season. 

Got moxie? Get some! 

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