courage – M.E. corage, fr. OF cuer (heart), Latin cor -more at heart
“mental or moral strength to resist opposition, danger, or hardship…implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty.”
–Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
The summer of my junior year in high school I determined that I would reinvent myself with each new school year. I would have a new theme of fashion that I wanted to go with. So, my senior year, I became (or so I thought) the cute prep. I got rid of my glasses, began wearing contacts and more makeup, began working out fervently, and sporting the long preppy ponytail look. Then, the next year I decided upon the cute collegiate look for my freshman year in college (a term and look only I could define)…and, so on and so on.
As I’ve matured and grown in my Christian faith, I still reinvent myself each year, but it no longer relates to fashion. I now focus on becoming more of a conduit for the truth of God’s word. And, God with his holy humor obliges me. 🙂 However, this year is different. This year God has modified my little personal game, heard my prayers of “going deeper” and given me his own version of reinvention. He’s given me a theme…and, that theme is COURAGE.
Now, let me just say here that God has never done this. In my prayer time, I’ve never had a word repeated over and over in my spirit like today. God has given me scripture to meditate on, and people to pray for, but He’s never given me a word. But, He did today. And, being that I’m never one to box God in with my own finite reasoning, I rolled with it. And, I charge you to do the same.
What areas of your life have you put off or decided not to pursue simply because you were afraid or not even afraid, just unsure? What challenges did you decide not to push yourself toward because someone else (who’s purpose is not your purpose) talked you out of it? King Ahab of Israel in 2 Chronicles 18 was convinced by a lying spirit through people he trusted to do what he should not, and the outcome was not favorable. What victories/miracles/successes from the Lord have you received in the past which you can now look back on to press you forward toward a current goal? King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:12 (yes, the scripture reference is on purpose 🙂 ) did just that and stated, “O our God, will you not judge them (the armies of Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites coming to overtake him)? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” Verse 13 goes on to say, “All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.” And God showed up!
If you noticed the etymology of the above definition like I did, you’ll see “heart” is the basis of the definition and even “core.” I am amazed by the multitude of scriptural references to the heart as it relates to courage. And, to go even further the many references on ENcourage as it relates to Christians strengthening one another and not DIScouraging or “disheartening” one another.
A few of those scriptural examples are 1) Prov. 3:1-2, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years” 2) Prov. 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” 3) I Cor. 16:13 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” 4) Heb 3:6 “But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.” 5) I Thess 4:18 “Therefore encourage each other with these words.” 6) I Thess 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…” 7) Titus 2:6 “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.” 8) Col 3:21 “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” 9) Jos 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
So, studying the word of God, binding it in your heart, trusting in His faithfulness even when your faith falters, and standing firm in your faith when everything and everyone around you seems faithless strengthens your heart–strengthens you to the core! And, as Webster’s definition of courage states, doing these also allows you to have firmness of mind and will in the face of danger and extreme difficulty.” May you be courageous in 2012 for you are the salt of the earth, saints.
Now go be the light God uses to not only illuminate sin, but to also lead those in darkness to the light of Christ. I’m praying for you.