When Craig and I were first married and living in an apartment in Springfield, Missouri, I remember that I had been decorating for Fall and had just bought a new wreath for the season. I hung my new décor on the front door of that little apartment and was so excited for Craig to come home and see it! He worked 2nd shift and usually arrived home around 11pm. Around 9pm, I thought I heard someone in the hall of the apartment building. I'm not typically a "scaredy cat", but I tip-toed to the door to look out of the peep hole. It was covered! I couldn't see a thing! I was instantly frozen with fear and just stood there for what felt like FOREVER! I kept staring out of the peep hole, but it remained completely black! I was certain that someone was trying to break in and was covering the peep hole in attempt to distract me as they tried to break down the door. I didn't know what to do - this was in a time before everyone and their dog had cell-phones, and I was too scared to tip toe back across the room to use the landline to call my neighbor to rescue me! I stood there for a bit longer
wide-eyed and petrified. In that moment, it suddenly dawned on me that I had just hung up my new wreath on our door - that's why it was completely black as I peered into the peep hole! I had covered it up myself - there was no one outside trying to break in. Instead of remaining calm, my mind quickly raced to the worst case scenario. I was completely void of courage in that moment. How many other times in my life have I done the same thing but on a much grander and eternal scale? How many times have I reacted out of fear instead of going to the One who is the source of the courage that I need? I can say that's it more times than I care to admit.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive
mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
In these Scriptures we read the foundation of our confidence, our courage, and our good cheer. Here is the promise of God’s unending care for us, a care that is not available to those that do not know the Lord as their Savior. But for those who have placed their faith in Christ for salvation, we are to have no fear because “it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32)
PRAYER TIP - Take Courage through Christ
So many things in life require and demand for us to be courageous. It's easy to say, but hard to do! But with Christ, it is possible and attainable! We just need to remind ourselves Who is with us. We aren't alone in anything we experience in life - the good, the bad or the ugly. Refuse to play it safe! We can rely on the One who gives life, both eternal and physical. If God has the power to speak the world into existence, can't He also walk with us in the midst of a storm? It may require us to surrender our comforts to have our faith and courage through Christ and the promises of His Word. But, you and I don't walk alone when He is with us - Christ has also given us the physical body of the church - our community - to walk into a battle, a victory or a valley along side. I'm sure we can all think on times whether in the past or presently when our church family has stepped in and up in our lives.
God commands us to have courage and gives us many reasons and examples to see why and how to do that. The command “fear not” is used over and over in Scripture! It would appear that God does not want us to live our lives in fear, but with courage! Maybe past hurts and insecurities keep us a little more on the fearful side. Even though God created us to be courageous through Him, I am so thankful He knew we would need encouragement along the way. Here are just a handful of examples from God's Word of those who had courage through Him:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3)
David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17)
Esther Going before the King (Esther 4-5)
Peter Walking on Water (Matthew 14:22-33)
Peter & John (Acts 3-4)
I don't know about you, but these examples encourage my heart! Just as these men and women listed above experienced, being a follower of Christ takes courage. We have to believe and understand that this courage doesn't come from our own strength and abilities - it is a gift from the Lord. Our life in Christ gives us victory over all things. We can believe it in confidence and show it in our lives!
Prayer Points - (Pray over these requests)
Pray for the Lord to reveal in your heart areas that you hold back from living courageously.
Pray for the Lord to show you what fears cause you to resist what He may be calling you to do for Him.
Praise the Lord for the promises that you have seen worked out in your own personal storms of life.
Suggested Prayer - (Pray these words in your heart or out loud):
I come before You in the Name of Jesus and I praise You for Your goodness in my life. Thank You for giving me exactly what I need at the precise time I need it! You are good and I ask that I will sing Your praises all of my days! Thank You for giving me courage when I have none. I ask that You would give me the courage to do the right thing, even when it is hard. I believe that You are a Rewarder of those that diligently seek You, and I trust in Your Promises. Help me to live my life in surrender to Your will, and to be thankful in each season You bring me to. Help me to enter each season with courage because of what You have promised to do in my life - to never leave or forsake me. I praise You, I love You, and I humble myself before You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.