Update: this is exciting–i wrote it for Pierre Du Plessis, my pastor at http://www.tfhny.org , sorry it was protected initially–wanted to make sure he liked it before we went live on it :D. He posted it again on his blog, which was awesome: http://02cbec7.netsolhost.com/blog/?p=864 . :D.
When was the last time you needed to use courage? Maybe you addressed an audience, or you did something that was physically difficult. Maybe you moved someplace new or shared a big secret..
Looking for examples in Scripture has seemed like a practical way to get courage in my life so far—at 23, I’ve lived in Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East–and currently, in a low-income, often violent, inner-city neighborhood (Dorchester, MA).
If you don’t have time to read the whole Old Testament, Hebrews sums up several courageous heroes’ lives in chapter 11 beautifully. For this post, however, I want to focus on one Person.
Jesus: Our Perfect Example
People seem to think that Jesus had an easier time accomplishing his calling than the rest of us do on earth, because “He was GOD!”. But here’s the thing: according to himself, Jesus was fully man and gave up all his God-power when he came to earth.
In John 5:19, Jesus says: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
Getting practical: What this means for us in our own calling
Jesus’ courage—to come to the earth, to live as a homeless man, to move around constantly to new places, to speak to the masses, and to eventually die willingly—all of this courage came from the Father, not from deep inside himself. Understanding that he could do nothing by himself was the key to his courage.
When I lack courage in a calling or mission, I try to check my heart to make sure that I’m understanding this fact: I can do nothing on my own. At first it sounds like it would add fear to the already bad situation—but really, it takes it all away.
Pursuing God requires courage too
Hebrews 4:14-16 says,
14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens,[a] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
When God sees his small, weak, human child come in with confidence to enter his throneroom, he remembering Jesus’ love, obedience and unwavering courage. Because of what Christ did for us, we can enter into God’s presence.
It takes courage to pursue God even when we cannot see him and especially when others come against you. It’s harder yet when a wall of silence awaits us or when demonic forces insert lies in our minds as we wait for Him.
But because of Jesus’ humility and courage, we can still access the Father, knowing that without Him we can do nothing and with him, “all things are possible”. If you’re lacking courage, it might be time to check where you’re drawing it from—from deep inside you, or rather, from our Dad Himself.