I want to start with a quote from Mark Twain: “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”
Courage is not the absence of fear but facing your fear and stepping out despite the fear. Fear weakens people, but courage brings strength.
Courage comes from being God-confident not self-confident.
Psalm 31:24 says it so well: “Be of good courage and he shall strengthen your heart all who hope in the Lord.”
David wrote this Psalm and David is an example of a man who’s courage came from being God-confident. What fueled David’s courage was his confidence in God’s promises, God’s faithfulness and God’s power to fulfill them.
One of the best known stories in the bible is the story of David and Goliath. It’s the account of David who stepped out courageously to face Goliath, unlike Saul and his men who shrank back in fear. What did David have that Saul and his soldiers lacked?
Goliath was about nine feet tall. Physically every man in the Hebrew camp was outclassed, and more so David who was a teenager at the time. It appeared to be a suicide mission. But David did not see it that way because his Courage came from being God-confident not self-confident.
The stark difference between David and Saul and his men was that they lacked the courage to face Goliath because at that moment they lacked faith. Goliath looked bigger than God — but not so with David. David saw God as bigger and stronger than the intimidating Philistine. So he went out to fight knowing God would give him the victory over the giant. He knew the victory would demonstrate God’s power and faithfulness.
This is all recorded in 1 Samuel
(1Samuel 17: 10-11, 45-46) Then the Philistine said “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight together.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.”
But not so with David!
“David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defiled. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. This day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know there is a God of Israel.”
Faith made David more than courageous. When he heard the Philistine defy the living God it made David angry. His courage was rooted also in stepping out to defend God’s name.
We are all familiar with this story of how David reached into his bag and taking out a stone he slung it and struck the Philistine in the forehead, and the Philistine fell facedown to the ground and died. This is a great example of trusting in God.
Courage is not the absence of fear but stepping out with confidence in God.
You need to be aware of any “Goliath” that is looming larger than God in your life. It could be fear of failure, or fear of rejection, or fear of man. What can happen is all we see is how weak and pathetic we are and how inadequate we are, and we can become intimidated and immobilized.
I remember a time where I was paralyzed with fear. The fear that immobilized me was the fear of man and the fear of what they would think.
It had to do with praying out loud in a prayer meeting. As a young Christian I would attend a weekly church prayer meeting. The leader would point to prayer points that we would be covering, and his direction to us would be if you felt a prompting in your spirit to pray on one of these point, please do so.
I was at the meeting listening to mature Christians pray and was totally intimidated by the way they prayed. All I could think of is how I would sound and that I couldn’t pray like that, as I sat in these meetings I would get a prompting that I was to pray a certain point. However as I became aware of this, before I could open my mouth I was gripped with a paralyzing fear. My heart would start beating so hard I could hear it pulsing in my ears. It was deafening. And what would happen is someone else would pray that exact prayer, and I knew it was God who had promoted me to pray. And again and again the same thing would happen. However even though I was intimidated, I faithfully attended those prayer meetings. And then after about 3 months, one day everything changed. It started out the same — I felt a prompting in the spirit to pray followed by fear the same pounding of my heart and pounding in my ears.
But this day was different because Courage rose up from my inner being and I opened my mouth and God filled it with his words to speak, and it was like a Roar. Jesus is called the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and Jesus in us. And as I opened my mouth the Lion Roared and fear was broken off of me in an instant and I prayed the prayer that rose out of my spirit that God had prompted me to pray that day.
Courage will rise up in us as we face our fears By attending those prayer meeting I was facing that fear. And as I listened to my brothers and sisters pray my faith was growing. My confidence in God was growing.
So today, face your fears. Face them head on, and step out and God will meet you there. Remember that Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. The Lion is in you.
Courage comes from being God-confident not self-confident