Courageous Faith

Dear Friends,

Daith Piercing (inner ear)

It's been said that courage is not doing something without fear, but doing it despite fear.  This was certainly the case for me when I had my daith pierced.  I was fearful of the pain involved, but went ahead with it anyway. 

Why would I do something which caused me fear?  Well, it wasn't because I wanted to make a fashion statement, and neither was it because I'm having a mid-life crisis.  Those reasons would not have been enough to motivate me.  My reason, my motive, for doing it was because it may prevent migraines because the piercing is on a pressure point.  There is no guarantee that it will work, but the possibility that it could, was worth pushing through my fear.  Having Jason with me while I had it done was an added boost to my act of courage.  I didn't have  to face it alone.  Some may well think I'm crazy for doing it.  In fact that's what my two teenage kids believe, although they didn't say so in quite those words.  They did make it abundantly clear what they thought of my actions!

God expects his people to demonstrate courage.  He said the following words to Joshua when he took over from Moses as leader of the Israelites: "This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1: 9 (NLT).

Paul also commanded the Corinthian Christians to "Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous.  Be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NLT).

So too, we are to be courageous in our faith.  I believe that the ability to demonstrate courage depends in part on our reason for doing so.  What is our motive for being courageous?  If my motive is because I want to live in obedience to God and do his will, I am more likely to show courage because there is a real cause, a purpose, in it.  However, if it is based just on a whim or a passing thought, then I'm less likely to show courage.

One of the reasons Joshua was able to be courageous was because he trusted in God's promise to be with him wherever he went.  When I too trust God's Word that he is with me all the time, that gives me a confidence boost and gives me the courage to step out of my comfort zone and do what he is calling me to do.  Courage also comes from knowing I am in God's will and seeking to be obedient to him. 

I can't summon the courage I need for myself to live for God.  It's just not naturally there.  So what can I do?  What did the early Christians do?  They asked God to give them the courage they needed and God answered their prayers.  For example, Acts 4:29-31 "And now, Lord, take note of their intimidations intended to silence us. Grant us, Your servants, the courageous confidence we need to go ahead and proclaim Your message 30 while You reach out Your hand to heal people, enabling us to perform signs and wonders through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.They finished their prayer, and immediately the whole place where they had gathered began to shake. All the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began speaking God’s message with courageous confidence." (VOICE)

You and I can ask God to give us the courage we need to follow him, to move out of our comfort zone and we can ask with confidence knowing that he will answer our prayers.  He has blessed us with the Holy Spirit so that whatever we do, we do it in the power and the strength that he gives us.  We are not relying on our own limited resources.  We are relying on him.

We are part of a family of believers, so not only can we pray for God to give us the courage we need, we can also pray for others and ask that they too pray for us.  From prison Paul asked that his Christian brothers and sisters would pray for him that God would keep giving him the courage he needed to do God's will.  "And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should."  Ephesians 6:19-20 (NLT)

It is both our privilege and responsibility to pray for one another.  We experience joy as we see them walk with courageous faith and we can celebrate with them.

Sometimes courageous faith will mean doing something that others may think is crazy (just like my children thought I was crazy for getting that particular ear piercing) but we can't let what others think of us stop us from doing what God has asked of us.  We need to have the courage to take that step of faith even if it means others will misunderstand or criticise us.  Once again, God will give us the courage to follow his voice rather than other voices, if we will just ask him for it.  Often God will give us the courage when we act in faith, and not before.  He does this to strengthen our faith and dependence on him.

To Think About:
Has there been a time in your life when you acted courageously despite being afraid?  What was the outcome?

What helps you to act in courageous faith?

Is there something God wants you to do which requires courageous faith?  What will your response be?




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