“Courage is fear holding on a minute longer” (George S. Patton). “Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared to death” (Eddie Rickenbacker). Courage comes from the French word “couer,” which means, “heart.” The core of Christianity is courage.
Courage enabled the martyrs to face death. Read this excerpt of courage from Fox’s book of Martyr’s: “A good example of the kind of courage we are to exhibit can be seen in the lives, and deaths of the apostles. Stephen was stoned by the Jews (Acts 7). Tradition tells us that James was beheaded in AD 36. So righteous was James at his final visit to the Roman judge that the man who turned him in became a Christian and was beheaded with him. Thomas was murdered by a dart while ministering in India. Simon was crucified. Mark was drawn with ropes into the fire, where he burned to death. Bartholomew was crucified and then beheaded. Andrew was crucified. Matthew was run through with a spear. Philip was crucified and stoned to death. James was pushed off a temple and then beaten to death. Paul gave his neck to the sword and Peter was crucified upside down. Together these men could agree with Paul. ‘We are of good courage, I say, and, prefer to be absent from the body and be at home with the Lord.’” They got their wish. “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point” (C. S. Lewis.)
Courage will enable us to change. Transformation is part of God’s plan for our lives. Transformation occurs in our lives whether we like it or not. We like things set, but the life of a Christian is not like that. God doesn’t intend for us to remain the same (Gen. 46: 3-4). We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are. So ask God who made us to keep remaking us (Col. 3:9-10).
Courage will enable us to stand for our convictions. Convictions hold us steady in the storm and help us to bear up under criticism. Courage moves us to keep on standing when no one else will. Courage empowers us to stand when others are sitting. Courage strengthens us to stand out when no else is speaking. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy” (Martin Luther King, Jr). Conviction gives us an emotion that will not allow us to fold into the crowd. When we stand for what is right we win, even if we lose. Our enemy is described as a roaring lion. He seeks you. It takes courage to stay in the fight It takes courage to do right when most are doing wrong.
Courage will enable us to overcome obstacles (Jhn. 16:33). “Courage is a special kind of knowledge; the knowledge of how to fear what ought to be feared, and how not to fear what ought not to be feared. From this knowledge comes an inner strength that subconsciously inspires us to push on in the face of great difficulty. What can seem impossible is often possible with courage” (Anonymous).
Courage enables us to learn and to grow. Seeking and accepting truth requires courage. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (Jhn. 8:32). We also need courage to let truth freely work in our hearts. Seeking truth is one thing; letting it work in our lives and change our lives is another. Truth will change every fabric of our character. It will temper our attitude toward the weaknesses of others. Truth will also move us to hate error. Truth will change us and courage is needed to let truth do her work. It will change us whether we want to or not. It will make us hard hearted if we refuse it, or it will make us like Christ if we allow it. It takes courage to speak the truth in love. It takes courage to teach your neighbor.
Finally, courage enables us to take the high road (Mat 5:1-10). Translated, this means we need courage to intentionally admit our need (vs. 5); to give up our quest for personal rights (vs. 5); to maintain hunger and thirst for God (vs. 6); to practice an identity with people in need (vs. 7); to maintain a pure heart (vs. 8); to cultivate a peace in all relationships (vs. 9); to take a positive view of criticism (vs. 10). It takes courage to forgive. It takes courage to do the right thing.
Christians are called upon to show courage in order that we might enjoy an eternal freedom. May God strengthen us to give us that kind of faith to be what He wants and to do what He wants in order that heaven might be our home. Being a Christian and becoming a Christian requires courage of the highest order.