31 times in the Bible, God tells individuals to be strong and take courage for the task He set before them. Of course, for this to be a part of our culture, what we believe and how we act must match up.
Courage of Leadership (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9, 18; 10:25)
Joshua was told four times to be strong and take courage as he took over the job of leading the nation of Israel into the promised land. Leaders need to have great courage as they lead their followers into battle against the enemy. What gives them courage? The only thing that can give us courage is knowing that we are not only in the will of God, but also that God is fighting with us to ensure the victory. This is just as important for our leaders today. We may not be fighting a physical war with swords or guns, but we are in a war that is spiritual and our weapons are courage and God’s Word. Courage is especially important for leaders because of the example they provide. People are only motivated to take courage when they see their leaders take courage. People only know how to take courage when their leaders both tell and show them the courage that God provides.
Courage of Faithfulness (2 Samuel 2:7; 1 Chronicles 28:20)
David was told by Samuel the prophet to take courage as he set out on the journey of governing the people of God. Later David encouraged his son Solomon to have courage in the same task. This courage comes not just by having confidence in the provision of God, but also confidence in the way of God through obedience to the Word of God. It is when people are obedient to God that they can know that they are in the will of God, and therefore take courage. David is called a man after God’s own heart because of his faithfulness to God’s way. He messed up quite often and quite epically, yet his redeeming quality was faithfully returning to God in genuine repentance, seeking to get back to the will of God. The same must be true of all who call themselves Christians. Let us be determined to have the courage of faithfulness and obedience to God.
Courage of Waiting (Psalm 27:14; 31:24; Isaiah 35:4)
The Psalmist reminds God’s people that courage comes from hope in God. When we wait for God’s timing, we are remaining in His will and plan. It is then, knowing that God always accomplishes His will, that we can have courage in waiting. Courage is a confident trust in God that never wavers despite what is happening around us. Even and especially in tough times, courage enables us to make it through whatever circumstances throw our way. Of course, we need that reminder that trust comes from knowledge and experience, which comes from studying God’s word and experiencing His grace.
Courage of Preparation (Ephesians 6:10-20)
Paul tells the Ephesians, and us, how to be prepared for the battle that rages on around us in the unseen world. That preparation only comes when we stand firm and put on the armour of God. Three times in the passage Paul reminds them to stand firm, which is to take a stand and courageously not move. In other places, the apostle tells his readers that we can resist the devil in such a way as to make him flee! This is great courage, especially when we realize the power of our adversary. So, what does it take to stand firm? It is the armour of God, which we must constantly ensure is in place so that we are ready. Truth is the belt that holds it all together. Are you grounded in God’s truth? Righteousness is the breastplate that protects the vitals, such as the heart. Are you right with God according to His standards? The gospel of peace is what gives us grip to stand our ground. Are you focussed on the good news of the gospel? Faith in God is the shield that wards off the arrows of the evil one. Are you fully trusting in God to defend you? The only weapon we have is the Word of God, the living sword of the Spirit. Are you studying and relying on God’s Word to cut apart the attacks of the evil one?
Courage of Witness (Ephesians 6:19; Acts 1:8; Matthew 28:19-20)
Every instance of God commanding a person to take courage was to accomplish a task for Him. The great commission of making disciples is your task, given to you by God to accomplish for His glory. To make disciples means to help people come to Christ, mentor them to stay with Christ, and teach them to live for Christ. This is a task that takes great courage, but the promise of the Holy Spirit and our knowledge of God by His Word should give us the greatest of courage. We have nothing to fear.
So, what is holding you back from taking courage? Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid!! Let us, as Grace Bible Church of Dauphin, develop a culture of courage that will draw others to Christ through our words and our lives.