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How the Bible defines courage


Dr Michael L Williams

The word courage is often used in ways that vary based on who is using it. For those who are not Christians, courage is often used to describe someone who has taken a stand to live a lifestyle that defies Biblical teaching. However, Christians see the word courage as being used when someone takes a stand for Biblical principles.

Biblical courage is also defined as the ability to do something brave out of a motivation of the heart. However, the Bible talks about what motivates the heart to produce courage. The Bible addresses these motivations as either good or bad.

Good courage always relies upon the supernatural power of God to strengthen and motivate believers to be courageous as children of God. Bad courage relies on human abilities and motives such as the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride.

What are examples of courage we can learn from the Bible?

The first one is the story of Joshua and Caleb, which teaches us to have the courage to trust the Lord when things look impossible.  God told Moses to send 12 spies into the Promised Land to get information about what was there so the Israelites would know what God was going to give them. When the spies returned, 10 of them told of how wonderful the land was, but how they could never take the land because it had too many people and well-defended.

The remaining two spies, Joshua and Caleb also told of how wonderful the land was, but unlike the other 10 spies, they were ready to immediately go and take the land. Because the people doubted Joshua and Caleb based on the report of the other 10 spies, the two were later chosen by God to lead the people into the Promised Land.

Joshua and Caleb’s courage demonstrates that when others doubt God, remaining courageous in the Lord will result in God’s blessing and the demise of those who doubt Him.

The story of David and Goliath also teaches us to have courage by trusting in the experience and skills that God has given us when dealing with adversity. David was a shepherd boy chosen by God to be the future king of Israel when he stepped forward to fight a giant 18 feet, 6 inches tall. While delivering food to his brothers, David saw that the giant was challenging the Israelites to fight. David was dismayed that no one would defend God’s people so he took courage in the belief that God would dispense with this giant no matter the odds.

David pleaded with King Saul to let him fight the giant. David was confident that since the Lord had enabled him to kill lions that would often attack the sheep, He would do the same with the giant. When King Saul consented , David however, refused the king’s armour and went to fight the giant with only his staff and a sling.

When the giant saw David, he him and the Israelites. The giant said he would kill the boy and feed Him to the birds, but David courageously replied that he would fight the giant in the name of the Lord and the God of the armies of Israel. David then took his sling and loaded it with a stone and launched it at the giant. The stone hit the giant in the forehead and killed him.

The story of Peter and John again teaches us to have courage when we are persecuted for doing what God wants us to do.

Peter and John went to the temple to pray when they encountered a disabled beggar. When the man asked them for money, they instead healed him. The healing drew a large crowd so Peter started sharing the gospel. This upset the religious leaders and they had Peter and John put in jail.

The next day, the religious leaders held a hearing and told Peter and John to stop teaching the people about Jesus. Peter replied that they could not honour their command because they were eyewitnesses to what Jesus had done. The religious leaders threatened them and let them go.

Later, Peter and John were again publicly healing and sharing the gospel. Once again, they were taken into custody. This time the religious leaders were upset that the whole city had heard about the healing and teaching of Peter and John. Peter again stood up and told them that they would rather obey God than them. Upon hearing this, the religious leaders wanted to kill Peter and John, but instead, had them beaten and released. After their release, Peter and John praised God that they suffered for the name of Jesus.

The Bible gives us many examples of those who had courage to accomplish great things for God. whatchristianswanttoknow.com

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