Discover the four ways courage plays a role in your faith.
Posted in , Jan 31, 2014
Courage runs through the Bible from beginning to end. From Abram’s departure to an unknown land to Daniel’s willingness to brave the lion’s den, from Christ’s anguished struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane to Paul’s imprisonment, we see case after case of courage in action.
Moses told the Israelites, “Be strong and courageous” (Deuteronomy 31:6). God told Joshua, “Be strong and very courageous” (Joshua 1:7). David told Solomon, “Do not be afraid or discouraged” (1 Chronicles 22:13). And Jesus told the disciples, when they saw him walking on the lake, “Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid” (Matthew 14:27).
But most of us aren’t asked to bring down the walls of Jericho, or even to go to jail for our beliefs. We’ve been called, as Mother Teresa so aptly put it, to “Be faithful in small things, because it is in them that our strength lies.” So what role does courage have in modern Christian life?
1. Find courage in loneliness.
None of us is immune to loneliness. Scripture tells us that “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16), so we know that when we are in lonely places, He is there.
When we are asked to bear the rugged cross of unwanted solitude, we can either embrace it or push it away. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me,” Jesus said (Luke 9:23). It takes courage to trust that God has a purpose to our loneliness, and that He can work through it—and through us—for even greater good.
2. Find courage by accepting where God has placed you.
Believe that where you are is where you are supposed to be, that your life serves a unique purpose in God’s kingdom. Paul wrote, “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death” (Philippians 1:20). There’s no mandate in scripture that says we need to have the word martyr or hero attached to our names in order to exalt Christ in our lives.
3. Find courage to see Christ in others.
In the parable of Judgment Day found in Matthew 25, Jesus—the King—tells his startled subjects that how they treated others was how they treated him. How much courage it takes to override complacency and truly live as if whatever we do “for one of the least of these” we do for Jesus! (Matthew 25:40). It takes courage to push aside what’s convenient or commonplace and to see what’s holy.
4. Find courage to accept God’s will.
Courage means doing the right thing, even when you’re scared or confused or upset. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed that the cup of suffering be taken from him (Matthew 26: 39). You have every right to pray that prayer, too, when rough times come your way. Believe—because it’s true—that it is in God’s power to change things. Envision the future in a positive way. But don’t forget the, “Yet not as I will, but as you will” part of Jesus’ prayer. Courage always means accepting that God’s will is more important than your own.
When we hold nothing back from God, we are on the road to courage, and he can do great things in even the little events of our everyday lives.