Saturday, November 17, 2012

Courage


Courage

 

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7


I’ve been thinking a lot lately on the characteristics of a Christian.  What is it about a Christian that makes them a different flavor than the rest of the world?  Why is it when you talk to a Christian you can almost immediately tell that they are a child of God? Is it just our discernment, or is it something else?
I’ve come to decide that it’s not our faith, but the root of our faith. 
It’s not our love, but the root of our love. 
It’s not our honesty, but where our honesty is grounded. 
It’s not our ability to forgive, but where forgiveness finds strength.
It’s not any virtue we have, but the root of all virtues. 
It is courage, and power supply for courage.

I believe C.S. Lewis, the great Christian writer and thinker, said it best: Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.We are tested daily by God to continually purify our spirit into the holy ones He desires us to be.  With each test passed, courage grows.

Courage is a deep well that drowns fear.  All Christians possess it in some degree just as all Christians possess faith in some degree.  2 Timothy 1:7 says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  Where fear loses ground, courage gains!
To have faith without doubting takes courage.
To love without fear of rejection takes courage.
To be honest, truly honest, takes courage.
To forgive after being wronged takes courage.
 
Every single virtue that a Christian should possess requires courage.  When it becomes hard to react to live as the Christian we are, fear has crept in.  At those times we need to be strengthened again by God.  King David describes it in Psalms 27.  He starts by talking about his own fear, and I believe with courage still raging in his voice as he says in verse 1, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?”  With God by our side, the ever present power of Salvation, there can be no fear.  Who is greater than God?  Who can overcome Him?
 
King David goes on describing how he handled his fear by taking it to God.  He said that when God said to him “Seek My Face” he answered “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”   God never tests us with the intent of causing us to fail.  He wants us to depend on Him, to go to Him for our needs, even the base ones like courage. 

Knowing where your strength comes from gives you and endless supply of courage.  Just go back to the well and fill up again!  David again recognizes that without God he would have lost all hope, and succumbed to fear.  He says in verses 13-14 “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”

Some Christians are easy to spot because they have courage seeping out of them and affecting all they do.  They speak boldly, they pronounce faith over their problems, they reject the obstacles that they face, and continue living life without letting go of God’s strength in them. 

I think about Peter, stepping out of the boat onto the water with Jesus.  That was courage. (Matthew 14:29)

I think of Paul and Silas, staying at the prison after the earthquake had removed their bars.  That took courage. (Acts 16:28)

I think of John and Peter telling the lame man to stand in front of many unbelievers.  That took courage. (Acts 3:5)

I think of Stephen, knowing the hatred in the hearts of those that were before him, yet looking up said “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:56)

When trouble comes and your heart sinks, go back to the well.  Seek My face”, God says.  How will you answer?

 

 

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