Do you ever wonder how to find courage in all circumstances? Do you feel like the trials of life sometimes saps the courage right out of you? Then join us below as we discover what the Word has to say about courage and how we can find it in the Lord!
“Courage” As a Word…
Each of us, through our own unique life experiences, hold differing ideas on what things mean. For instance, someone who grew up in a loving, traditional family unit vs. someone who grew up without that loving stability—going from home to home—would have drastically different views on the meaning of “family.”
It could be the same for “courage.” While we each have an idea of what a word like “courage” might mean, there would only be a few of us who would not be satisfied with a basic dictionary definition…
For, we see the basic definition of “courage” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as: “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” Further synonyms and antonyms of the meaning include, “tenacity; resolution; spirit; bravery; virtue; daring; and intrepidity.”
With all these related words, along with the definition itself, we discover that “courage” could be said to be ‘a resolution or tenacity to overcome or withstand danger, fear, or difficulty with bravery and daring.’
Yet, is this in line with biblical meanings of courage? Well, to discover that we need to go straight to the Word.
“Courage” In the Word…
The words “courage,” “courageous,” and “courageously” combined can be found a mere 28 times in the New King James version of the Bible. However, this minimal usage of the word “courage” is in no way an indication that it is unimportant.
“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”—Psalm 31:24
Many men and woman of the Word had to walk in courage, yet, it was only through a reliance on God that they met with any success.
Take Esther… while the book of Esther does not mention the specific word, “courage,” Esther surely utilized it. After all, she chose to go before the king unannounced to entreat for God’s people while death was to be the outcome if God was not with her.
Yet, the reason her act of courage was successful was because she chose to put her trust—her courage—in the Lord with fasting and praying for three days prior… and the Lord was with her. He did not let her courage be put to shame.
“…gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”—Esther 4:16
“So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.”—Esther 5:2
Or, take Daniel’s friends being thrown into a fiery furnace… Yes, they did not run into the furnace, but had they been fearful or turned from God, they would not have survived. Their courage had to rest firmly in God. And it was through their courage in Him that God met them—because they would not bend their knee to any but God, even if death would be their reward.
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered… ‘O Nebuchadnezzar… If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.’”—Daniel 3:16-18
“… Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.”—Daniel 3:26-27
Yet, while these examples are useful in demonstrating how a faith in God leading to courageous action is powerful, there are examples in the Word which mention “courage” specifically.
Take Joshua, whose story is filled with courage found in God—both directly and indirectly. When Joshua was younger, sent as one of the twelve spies to examine the Promised Land, he was one of only two who came back with a positive report. Joshua saw the land though a lens of courage; courage found only in God. And the negative reports of the majority would not sway him.
This courage, as seen through Joshua’s steadfast faith in God, is likely one of the reasons why God chose Joshua to lead His people into the Promised Land, and also why Joshua was able to commission others with the same courage that God commissioned him with. After all, in the book of Joshua, we see the word “courage” seven times—7 of the 28, total, throughout the NKJV Bible!
In fact, many occurrences of the word “courage” found in the Word are spoken by God Himself. Reminding, encouraging and commissioning not only Joshua, but also many others throughout the Word, to have courage, to be courageous, and to be strong in trusting the God who will never leave nor forsake you!
“…be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do… all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.”—Joshua 1:7
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”—Joshua 1:9
And because God imprinted this message of courage upon the heart of Joshua, Joshua in turn had the courage to imprint it upon the hearts of God’s people…
“…Joshua said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage…’”—Joshua 10:25
To be courageous in God is to trust Him, to be steadfast in Him at the forefront of our hearts and minds. Jesus reminded His disciples to ‘take courage’ when he said “be of good cheer” so they would not yield to fear (see Matthew 14:27 and Mark 6:50). God reminded His chosen ones to be strong and encourage others to do the same… to be courageous even in fearful or disheartening situations.
It is in many ways a choice. We either choose to focus on the giants of our circumstances OR on our God… for when our focus is stayed on the God who is our strength, courage does come. It is a matter of perspective—a shift in priorities and focus. It is steadfast faith leading to boldness of heart.
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”—Deuteronomy 31:6
“…David said to his son Solomon, ‘Be strong and of good courage… do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God… will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you…’”—1 Chronicles 28:28
“But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’”—Matthew 14:27 (NIV)
Courage can be built upon. It can be practiced through wise, Godly, choices. It is not the natural instinct for us to walk in Godly courage, however, by choosing to remember God’s strength in all circumstances, our courage WILL grow!
God is the key to courage. Our steadfast faith in Him turns to action with a braveness of heart… where we can return from scouting out the land of our promise and say, “Let us go up and take possession [of the land], for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30). We can walk in confidence, knowing that the Lord—our strong right arm—is with us no matter the giants we might face.
“… ‘The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, “a land which flows with milk and honey.” Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.’”—Numbers 14:7-9
If you would like to learn how to overcome the spirit of fear, then click HERE!
If you would like to discover why confidence is important, then click HERE!
If you would like to help Holocaust survivors who have held onto courage their entire lives, then click HERE to support them!
If you would like to learn more about Joshua, then click HERE!
If you would like to read more about Moses, then click HERE!