It is to be brave, strong and confident – the opposite of cowardice and fear. Both courage and the lack of it are largely mental attitudes. Courage is not the absence of fear nor does it eliminate anxiety, but rises above it, making the sound judgment that something is more important than crippling fear. An over-comer knows the goal they want to reach, refusing to be inhibited or prevented from achieving by any fear or apprehension. They will tackle the obstacles and although there will be setbacks their tenacity and courage will help them accomplish their goal.
Courage is a positive belief “We are well able to…” while the negative perspective of fear is “We can’t” (Num 13:30,31). One mindset opens up exciting possibilities as we make the potential a reality, the other limits and blocks progress when faced with obstacles and challenges. Initial apprehension and fear at the enormity of the task is often the human response to the Lord’s call, because it is always bigger than we can achieve on our own. The Bible records the responses Moses and Gideon (Ex 3:11ff; Jdg 6:15). By stepping out in faith and acting courageously often, we will be pleasantly surprised how our faith is rewarded. In what areas do I need to act courageously?
It takes courage to try, knowing that both success and failure are possibilities
He won’t give us the ability to carry out, so we can claim, “I can do everything [that He asks of me] through Him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13). Courage is relying on God – confidently in faith. It says, ‘With His help I can do it’ (Ps 121:1,2). “When I am afraid, I will trust in you” (Ps 56:3). Many times the Bible states, “Be strong and of good courage” (Deut 31:6,7,23; Josh 1:6,7,9; 1 Chr 28:20.
The eternal God is our refuge; therefore, we can be bold as we rest in His security (Deut 33:27). Don’t compromise your moral standards by giving in to pressure from others but have the courage to stand alone on your convictions. To obey God is more important than to obey people (Act 5:29). Courage is also needed to confront issues that need to be cleared up, to admit to mistakes we have made, and to speak up for the cause of Christ. Pilate when handling the trial of Jesus showed he did not have courage but gave in to the crowd (Lk 23:1-25). We can gain courage by praying for boldness then acting in spite of obstacles, opposition and the butterflies within (Act 4:29,31). Don’t be intimidated, knowing that greater is He (the Holy Spirit) who is within, than he who is in the world (1 Jn 4:4).
David had an intimate relationship with God as well as a record of accomplishment of overcoming wild beasts so was not intimidated by Goliath. His confidence was in the Lord, not the size of the problem coming against him (1 Sam 17:45-47). We also need to control our thinking by focusing on who is for us – the all-powerful creator God – when confronted with choices as they have significant repercussions depending on the decision we make. It is essential to hear from God and then follow Him in faith, often regardless of peer pressure and the temptation to settle for the tried and comfortable, instead of stepping outside our comfort zone moving into our divine inheritance and calling by taking new ground for the Kingdom of God. What do I believe God is challenging me to attempt for Him? Am I prepared to pour myself into His calling for me? Also, support and stand alongside those who are fearful yet are living in dependency on God, just as others have encouraged you when you were discouraged and lacking confidence.