Courage is often associated with acts of bravery that go above and beyond our human experience, like pulling someone out of a burning car or jumping into the ocean to save someone from drowning. But courage sometimes doesn’t appear to be that heroic even though it truly is. Courage can be standing your ground and speaking up when you feel like running the other way. Courage is saying yes to something you feel God is telling you to do when you are not sure you can do it.
Courage as it is referred to in the bible is God bolstering the believer, empowering them with a bold inner attitude to be “of good courage,” to show daring courage necessary for a valid risk.
Jesus’ word to his disciples is as much for us today as they were back then. Jesus spoke to his disciples about the need for courage as he neared going to the cross. His words were “These things I have spoken to you so that in me you will have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The disciples were about to face many trials and tribulations — Jesus gave them this instruction “Take Courage.”
If ever Courage was under fire, it is in this day and age. It takes courage for our doctors and nurses and first responders to be on the front lines when Covid-19 has swept into our country and taken so many lives. In New Jersey alone the numbers are 15,741 (as of July 20) and counting. For many, just to step out of our houses takes courage. As Christians our faith rises up and we take courage in the midst of this crisis, knowing Jesus overcame the world and that we can overcome evil by the blood of the lamb. Our faith fills us with courage and peace. It’s important and wise to take the necessary precautions, but we don’t live in fear because of our faith.
In this time of racial unrest it takes courage to speak up and take a stand. It takes courage to have uncomfortable conversations. As we do we will be more aware of who we are called to be as followers of Christ. We are called to “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love in honor giving preference to one another” (Romans 12:10).
That in these conversations we would be kind, choosing our words carefully. “May the meditations of my heart and the words of my mouth be pleasing in your sight” (Psalm 19:14). May we be aware of showing honor to one another and to prefer each other, where we are more concerned about what the other is experiencing than our experience, where our priority would be to be kind and have empathy for one another.
Jesus said it so simply and so powerfully (Luke 10:27) He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
As Christians our top priority is to walk in love, and that is what is going to set us apart from the way the world is addressing the racial unrest in our country.
The apostle Paul said it so well to remember the call on our lives “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle, and patient bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one spirit, just as we were called to one hope when we were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:1-6 )
It is so important we remember the high call to be Ministers of Reconciliation. We are Ambassadors for Christ as scripture tells us:
2 Corinthians 5:20 “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf to be reconciled to God.”
It takes courage to step out and share your faith. But we have to remember we have a high call on our life and know we are not alone. The Holy Spirit is with us and in us and will guide us as we step out in faith. We are anointed and called for a time such as this, and God will set up divine appointments for us and guide us by his spirit in where to go and what to say.
God has called us to be courageous. Courage flows into our spirit from the Holy Spirit. We need to listen again to what Jesus said: “take courage.” As we allow God to fill us with his strength, he will be there and provide courage in our time of need.
Courage comes from him!
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world!”