1/5/11

A Warrior of Courage

I've been reading a little book called Now Is the Time that offers quotations, scriptures, and affirmations to help a person step out in faith, dream big, let go of the past ~ and this is my favorite part ~ move beyond fear into courage. The writer of Now Is the Time wrote, "Move beyond fear-based thinking and look at your life in the light of God's promises."

My focus for this year is courage, and the Lord is dropping all sorts of resources into my life on that topic.
It's almost like God is saying, "You want courage? Let me teach you all about it."

But I know that courage isn't something we learn in textbooks. Courage is developed in the crucible of trials. If I'm asking for courage, I'm asking for a shift outside my comfort zone and into the arena of struggle. I'm asking that God stretch me, knowing that He is good and He will not break me ~ except perhaps to break and then reshape me into His image.

Jesus invited us to follow Him, but made it clear the invitation came with persecution and a cross (Matthew 10:34; 10:38-39; John 15:20; 16:1-2). Paul warned that "all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus" ~ and that takes courage in our wicked culture ~ "will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12).

Courage doesn't require that I die for Jesus in the United States ~ yet ~ but it does require that I am prepared to die for Him. I need to consider what courage might mean in various circumstances. Courage, one day, might mean simply speaking up to a store clerk at the Holy Spirit's promptings. Courage, another day, might mean taking a stand against a cultural trend, even when all my friends consider me odd. Courage means obeying God in spite of the results, and especially in spite of man's responses (Acts 5:29).

I didn't know, until recently, that the scriptures advise us strongly (commands us?) to "Be on your guard; stand fast in the faith; be courageous, be strong" (1 Corinthians 16:13). Paul's words seem to echo God's instructions to Joshua: "Be strong and of good courage ... very courageous" (Joshua 1:6-7).

Moses told the Israelites to stand firm in the face of Pharaoh's pursuit (Exodus 14:13), and later, he reminded his successor, Joshua, that God would neither fail nor abandon him (Deuteronomy 31:6). God's promise of His presence meant power for Israel; and power (dunamis) and everything we need to battle evil flows from His holy presence within us ~ the Holy Spirit ~ today (Acts 1:8; 4:29-31; Romans 15:13; Ephesians 3:16-20).

I think that courage is something I need to pray for and seek, because it is not natural ~ at least not for me. I can't expect to stand for God in deep trial if I flinch under minor duress. Courage is fortified by faith in the One who does not fail us ~ the One who holds our lives in His hands. We live in the light of His promises, not our fears and doubts.

I'm asking myself hard questions. Is my faith unshakable? Will it stand in the enemy's attacks? Further still, am I prepared to wield the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God ~ sharing its freeing truth with those who are in bondage? I want to be a faithful steward of my heart, and prepare for battle.

How about you? What will you do this year to become a Warrior of Courage?

2 comments:

Marja said...

I think about this often Dawn, it is so easy to SAY we are courageous or strong, but when it comes to it.... are we really? In a way I do not want to find out... because that means life lessons. I also know He will never give me something I cannot handle!

Dawn Wilson said...

I know, Marja. It's like people saying, "Don't pray for patience, because then you'll get trials." But we have to keep God's greater purposes in mind. He's more concerned about our growth than our comfort. (But you know that.)