What is courage? What is it to be courageous? And no we don’t have to jump off the side of a building to live courageously!! However we are all frequently faced with decisions and challenges that test our character and resolve. We have the option to either step up to the plate… or not. Courage is not something that comes naturally, but a character trait that is developed. So what is it to live courageously? If I fear what’s ahead, does that mean I’m lacking courage?
Over the years I, like all of us, have had to face many challenging situations and scenarios. To face people and talk about sensitive topics, confronting them on issues that would be easier left unsaid. To swallow my pride and appologise for the countless times I have mucked up. To work through the pain of relational breakups or mourning the death of those close to me. To tackle exam periods (I’m glad that time is over!) or when starting a new job or position that put me in way out of my depth. Or even to get up the front of the church and deliver a message. Then there are the countless personal battles to overcome sinful, addictive habits in my life in striving to enjoy and follow God when it can ‘feel’ so right and natural to go the other way. Life is full of Goliaths that can cause us to tremble in our boots, crumble in grief or give up in despair. Courage is a character trait that goes a long way to helping us push on when we feel like going the other way. It’s human and completely normal to be fearful in life. If people say they are not afraid in life, then they are lying to you! Fear is a natural, human emotion which God calls us to face, and in faith, push through despite it! That’s what courage is.
To display courage is to go against the flow – to trust God with what He has taught us to be right, and the work He has called us to do. To do so and experience God’s deliverance is a huge victory and buzz! We begin to understand more intimately how faithful God is. Our relationship with Him deepens as a result, and we are better equipped to face our fears with confidence and assurance of God’s enabling hand in our lives. I have always found it amazing how God uses ordinary people to do His work. The first church leaders, Peter and John, were just ordinary men (Acts 4:13). They weren’t intellectual scholars. Yet God used them in a powerful way! When we are called by God through our faith in Jesus, we must never think of ourselves as inadequate or not up to the task. To do so is to lack faith and not trust God on His calling in our lives. God knows what He’s doing. We need to trust Him and follow. When we step out in faithful obedience despite the obstacles, we will discover the power of God at work in our lives, whether that be in our struggle against personal sin, our relationships with others or the circumstances in our lives. There is no more fulfilling or rewarding experience then to step out in faith and experience God’s enabling hand on our lives. What peace, strength and reassurance that brings us!
Where is God calling you to be courageous? What convictions are you choosing to sweep under the carpet? Courage is not the absence of fear, but faithfully obeying God despite it. It will more than likely go against our nature, but that’s what’s involved in travelling the narrow path God calls all of us on. Life is meant to be challenging so that we can rely on God and experience His power at work in our lives. Let’s not cower in fear, or wallow in anguish and self-pity, but rather step up to the plate and hit a home run for our Lord! That’s faith in action!
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”