“Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.” A quote attributed to the late John Wayne. And I think from a human perspective, this is absolutely true. Having the courage to move forward regardless of how you feel is a mark of good character. In this respect, taking courage is a discipline that enables one to acknowledge emotion without letting that emotion be the director or motivator of one’s choices.
Shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus, His disciples were huddled behind closed doors, in fear for their lives. They were in mourning, and they were in hiding. They did not know what to do next. When Jesus appeared among them, very much alive, they were overjoyed, though still not certain what the future would hold. What they needed was courage, and Jesus told them that they should wait until He sent the Holy Spirit before they began the mission He’d entrusted to them of spreading the good news of His life, death for men’s sins, and resurrection. He was completely honest with them regarding the trials they would face, but He also told them not to be afraid because He had overcome.
After they received the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they were suddenly bold. They took their mission seriously, and set about with courage to obey the Lord. They had experienced a divine exchange, trading their fear and self-doubt for courage and love.
For the believer, being fortified with courage is absolutely necessary for living a victorious life. It takes courage to believe God in the midst of chaos and unrighteousness. It takes courage to cling to the anchor of hope in the presence of despair. It takes courage to love unconditionally in a world full of self-interested people. While it resides with the individual to seek courage and lay hold of it, it also resides with the community to daily encourage one another. “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13 NIV)
Beloved, let us determine to take courage and also to give encouragement. In Christ, living as overcomers with courage, we will be full of grace, having a powerful faith, resting in His sovereignty, and having self-control in His presence. We will think on what is worthy and be hope filled. We will have overcoming gratitude, yielded and submitted. We will be humble, caring and interested for others in a way that leads to intercession. Having Christ’s perspective, because we are taking every thought captive and abiding in His word, we will have contentment and pleasant boundary lines.
Until next week, fellow warrior, take courage and live victoriously.