Blog Posts

Courageous Living

  • On
  • By
  • Comments Off on Courageous Living

Have you ever had to muster the courage to keep going, to try something new, or to simply let go of what you have always done? Courage is always required in uncharted territories and we have certainly been in uncharted territories over the last year! The word courage in its French root means to “take heart”. I think the French definition helps to express that when we feel unqualified, unable, and certainly staring opposition in the face, we must have the ability to…take heart. In the book of Joshua, God tells Joshua to “be strong and courageous” on several occasions.  Essentially, He was telling Joshua, “take heart-you CAN do this”!

The reason why Joshua was able to conquer and move forward in light of adversity was because the Lord was with him.  God reminded Joshua of this truth in Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I’d like to highlight the ultimate reason why Joshua could do it- because God was with him. This little sentence- “I am with you”- changed the entire meaning of the command.  That last remark from the Lord to Joshua reveals the very nature of God.  “I” in Hebrew means “elion” which translates into meaning the “strongest of the strong”. When God tells you He is with you, it is not like when we tell a friend we have their back.  Inevitably, as much as we love and care for others, we are still flesh and made up of the same substance.  We are fallible and in the same boat as humankind.  But when God tells you “I am with you” that is completely different! Instead of having someone on the same level and capabilities backing you up, you have the “strongest of the strong” on your side as you act courageously!

God can be with you as you step out in courage and He will even supply courage at times but He can never make you act on that courage. We still have a free will and must decide to take a step.  In order to be courageous we have to know a few things:

1.  We have to know what we actually desire.

People are moved by desires (what we want).  Our desires are endless and sometimes completely unnecessary to what God’s desires are for us.  So in order to act in courage, we need to get real about what we desire and how it relates to the purposes of God in our life.  We must ask questions like, “Does this desire advance the God in me towards others?” and “Have I submitted this to God first?” By examining our desires in light of the purposes of God for our lives, we can determine if they are going to move us forward towards our destiny or if they actually stem from our own selfish ambitions or solely for our personal gain.  It helps to know what is motivating your desires so that you can be assured that your courage is for godly intents.  Courage is not the absence of fear but the recognition that the goal or purpose is greater than my fear and worth taking the chance.  Desire will outweigh fear and pull courage from within.

2. Identify our fear of failure.

One of our greatest struggles as humans is the fear of failure.  We do not give ourselves permission to fail. The reality is that we will never get it all right all the time.  Even when we have sought God, done the right thing, and counted the cost, we will still miss it.  Be encouraged! We cannot be afraid to fail when we serve the Lord. God is always in the restoration business.  When we identify our fear of failure, we take away the power it holds on us to keep us from trying something new.  Failure is not something we should seek but we can rest knowing that God has grace for every single failure.  Throughout scripture, we can read stories of people who failed many times yet God used them to show His love and advance His kingdom, in spite of those failures. By removing the fear of failure, we eliminate our need to consider fear before taking a step towards something new or different.  Sometimes, you just need to do it before you talk yourself out of it!

3.  Be honest about the cost of inaction.  

Inactivity has a price.  Not doing something is still making a choice. In Esther 4, when Mordecai speaks to Esther and says, “Maybe you have been brought here for such a time as this”, he also implies that if Esther had not taken action, God would have chosen another way or person to bring about deliverance to His people. In other words, Esther had a choice to be brave and courageous just like we do.  No one forced Esther to take action for her people and no one will force you or me.  We are responsible for every choice we make and every choice and action we choose not to take. Inaction only reveals our own inability to take responsibility.

4. Break your vision into manageable steps.

You often build courage by building wins into your life. David faced Goliath with the conquests of the lion and the bear in his memory tank.  So it is for us.  When we have made choices that successfully move us toward our goal, no matter how small, we gain confidence and traction.  Forward movement is the key to building courage.  Taking steps in the right direction and working toward bigger risks over time is the way to achieve your vision. It does not happen overnight.  Not every play is a homerun! Sometimes you just need a base hit to move the game forward.  Do not be impatient with the process of building up courage to act. Keep taking manageable steps towards your goal and courage will continue to build in your heart.