Sometimes it is hard to be courageous. As a young boy, my father would ask me to give my testimony before he would preach. Knowing I was a bit timid, Dad would help me to find courage. In my testimony I often quoted Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened… for the Lord your God is with you.” Dad was wise, and this is how I learned to speak in public.
Later as my wife and I were leaving to go overseas as missionaries, the verse that was an encouragement to us was 2 Timothy 1:7, “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
The three Christian virtues (faith, hope, and love) together undergird our courage. We can be courageous, first, because our confidence, our faith, is not in our own ability but in the Lord. As Joshua 1:9 teaches, the Lord, our God, is with us, always. That is why David was so courageous in the face of Goliath: he trust that the Lord would deliver him.
Hope also helps to overcome our fear. Christian hope is not a hope-so attitude, but a firm confidence in the outcome. Ultimately our hope is in the resurrection, and the new creation that God will bring about. If this truly is our confidence, then while me may sometimes feel a natural human fear, ultimately we have nothing to lose, and can enter each battle for the Lord with courage. What lies ahead is a new life in God’s wonderful new word.
Finally, there is nothing like love to give us courage. It is God’s love for us that lead Christ to die on the cross. It is this kind of love for others, for truth, and for righteousness that will also provide us with courage.
May the Lord give us the faith, the hope, and the love we need this day, to live courageously for him.