… Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
— JOSHUA 1:9
Courage, slightly different from heroics, is a frightening word. More often than not, the heroic deed is inspired by a matter of impulse. There is little time for thought;afterwards, heroes are found processing what just happened.
Courage, on the other hand, counts the cost, faces the fear and does it anyway.
Courageous people are always heroes because they are not moved by a sudden impulse. I’ve lived through times when bullets were flying and beatings were threatened. Truth be told, I didn’t choose those occasions, nor was I courageous. Forced courage is different from chosen courage. Most people don’t think about courage, yet many decide to face hardships rather than quit. Many choose to battle through adversity rather than abandon their responsibilities. Think of the choice Jesus had in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Life requires choices. The Bible extends numerous opportunities to choose wisely. The weak are beaten down by life. They live in their regrets, wallow in their need, whine in their excuses and are often bitter, resenting hardship, people and, ultimately, God.
If there is anything praiseworthy, choose to dwell in those thoughts. Choose to resist bitterness from laying roots in your soul.
Everyone has enough hardships in life to be overwhelmed and succumb to bitterness; however, Jesus offers us the option to love. Any one of us can allow our thoughts to flow through the gutters and sewers of life. Jesus invites us to identify the waste in our lives when purity is squandered on lust or greed or anger. Acting on this challenge requires courage.
Abundant living isn’t for the weak of heart. We can choose the easy, the alluring and the comfortable, but it results in a weakened individual. Society needs those who choose right over easy, pure over alluring, best over comfortable. Society needs the courageous.
FURTHER SCRIPTURE REFLECTION: PHILIPPIANS 4:8
1. Based on Philippians 4:8, decide how Paul’s counsel will influence the choices you face today.
2. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you Christ-like courage.
David Collins was raised in Vietnam as a son of missionaries. Based on lessons learned as a pastor, missionary, educator, international development worker and senior executive, he founded Paradigm Ministries in 2007. Discover more at paradigmministries.ca.