Fear is a basic human emotion. It keeps us from physical harm—even from sin. We fear things that can harm us. But God does not desire that we continually live in fear.
The truth is, there’s a kind of fear that conquers all other fears. If you fear God, there’s no reason to fear anything else. Real courage starts where the fear of God is conceived.
Biblical courage is more than just a person’s ability to face fears and to contend with challenges. It has to do with practicing God’s presence.
In the Old Testament, Joshua was to take over a leadership position – not an easy task, especially when you are succeeding a leader of great renown like Moses, through whom God did amazing feats to lead His people out of slavery. A tough act to follow!
Joshua also witnessed how the Israelites grumbled and rebelled not just against Moses, but also against God. And this in spite of God’s repeated miracles in their midst.
When Moses died, God commissioned Joshua to lead His people to the Promised Land. While Joshua was part of the team that surveyed the land, that was 40 years ago! If not to address Joshua’s fears, why would God have to repeatedly encourage him to ‘be strong and courageous’ (Jos 1:6, 7, 9, 18, 10:25), for He is with him?
Joshua was afraid. Nevertheless, he led the Israelites to countless victories because he understood that if God is with him, there is nothing to fear.
How can we practice being courageous?
God knows everything about us and it is pointless to hide anything from Him. It is completely okay to be vulnerable before God. Courage starts with owning up and taking responsibility for our wrong choices. It takes courage to admit that we have turned to a wrong direction and that we need help. When we do this, we allow God to come to our aid and fight the battle with us.
Courage requires us to take a stand for what is right in God’s eyes, even if it means being inconvenienced or unpopular. Therefore, we have to be aligned with God’s word—to meditate on it day and night (Jos 1:8) and to conform our standards to God’s standards.
Faith without obedience is dead. We have to act on what we believe in. Most of the time, it takes a life of love to become an effective representative of a God of love who courageously conquered sin and death so that people can be reconciled and be with Him in eternity.
Is there any area in your life that God wants you to courageously yield to Him? A secret sin, unforgiveness or a fear of rejection? Is there someone whom God is urging you to confront regarding his/her sin? Being courageous is not so much about who we are or what we can do as it is about who God is and what He can do through us. Ask God to empower you to stand up for Him wherever you are, regardless of the cost.