Mustering Up the Courage
Posted by March 8, 2018on
Everyone has fears. Everyone has weaknesses. Whether or not we give in to them, though, is the real test. What does God suggest we do?
Courage. It’s one of those terms that’s difficult to explain, but easily recognizable when acted on. In other words, you know it when you see it. Some would identify it in fictional characters in novels and movies (such as James Bond, Han Solo, Jack Sparrow, etc.).
But we must still ask the question, what is courage? Or more specifically, what is godly courage? Is it more than the courageous antics of fictional characters?
What is godly courage?
Courage, contrary to popular belief, isn’t the absence of fear. It is actually the realization that your objective is more important than your fear. An interesting quote says courage “is being scared to death and saddling up anyway” (John Wayne). We saddle up in everyday life when we do the right thing anyway. So, the next question to ask ourselves is, What is the right thing in God’s eyes?
Solomon, in his wisdom and knowledge, defined it this way: “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). So a definition of godly courage could be adhering to God’s commandments whatever the consequences.
A perfect example
Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of true courage. People may assume that since Jesus was perfect, He had no fears. But a close look at the Scriptures paints a different picture. Hebrews 4:15 tells us, “We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
Think about that. If we can be distressed at the thought of being punched in the face by someone, how much more distressed was Christ at the thought of being crucified? Christ dreaded pain and suffering like anyone would. The stress and anxiety Christ felt as He approached death magnifies the significance of His sacrifice.
The truth is, His sacrifice is so meaningful because He accomplished it in spite of how much He dreaded the painful torture He had to endure. Being in extreme agony, just moments before His betrayal, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).
But, even in the face of such a gruesome death, He had courage. Despite the pain He would have to endure, He was more concerned with the end result of His sacrifice—making forgiveness of sins and salvation possible for us. So He endured. He subjected Himself to the torment. He was beaten, whipped, mocked and shamed. But He endured it because He was doing the right thing. He was fulfilling His purpose. He set the ultimate example of courage in the face of adversity.
Stand up for what’s right
What trials are ahead of us right now? Are we approaching them with godly courage? Are we committed to following God despite our fears? When we are being tested, it is imperative that we remember this simple truth: Following God’s way of life is always the right answer to fear. “For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you’” (Isaiah 41:13).
For more insight into courage, read “Growing in Courage.”