Christians Must Be Courageous

W. Terry Varner
December 1, 2013

One of the keys to character is courage. Courage gives us stability and strength. Courage is essential for daily living. If we fail to be courageous, then what does it matter for us to desire honesty, purity, and righteousness? David was courageous. “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart be courageous” (Ps. 27:14). Christians cannot be strong and courageous unless they “wait on the Lord.” Consider how we can be courageous:

To be courageous, the Christian must believe in self. Belief in self is so essential in life, especially in the Christian life. As to the truthfulness of believing in one’s self, Benjamin Disraeli when shouted down in his first speech in Parliament, said to his critics: “The time will come when you will hear me.” Later, he became Prime Minister under Queen Victoria. In commenting on his “thorn in the flesh,” Paul wrote, “And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. . . . For when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Cor. 2:9-10).

To be courageous, the Christian must accept the faith of others toward him. While an individual must stand courageously against the sin of the world, sustained by his belief in himself as God’s servant, his courage is bolstered and nourished by the faith of others in us. No one truly knows how long personal courage can survive in complete isolation from the encouragement of others. Paul spoke of knowing the Lord stood with him. “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion” (2 Tim. 4:16-17). God cheers us on in life when others oppose us. Loved ones and friends can cheer us on when others oppose us.

To be courageous, the Christian must believe in the greatness of those who have gone before us. We cannot choose our physical ancestors, but we can choose our spiritual ancestors to the benefit of our character and faith. So often we ignore those who have preceded us and the good they have done. I dislike those who speak down on those faithful saints, men and women, who preceded them and made living the Christian life so much better. We must look at the good and the faithful labors of those who footprints are in the sands of time. The faith of Abraham, the patience of Job, the meekness of Moses, the self-control and purity of Joseph and Daniel, the courage of Elijah, the zeal of Paul, the service of Dorcas, Mary, and Martha, et al. I often speak of talking with the silent dead on my book shelves. The noble dead ought to be part of our company of life and we ought to allow them to inspire us to greater faith and service. After all, these are they who “compass about” us (cf. Heb. 12:1).

To be courageous, the Christian must have a belief in a purposeful future. We live a life of intense and frenzied activity. We ask, “Where is all of this frenzy life leading us?” We must be busy, but we must be busy with that which counts the most. In being willing to sacrifice, we must know for what we sacrifice is worthwhile. We must be concerned about the triumph for the cause of Christ, help and encourage our fellow men, and glorifying God. We must forget about personal triumph and reaping credit for ourselves by ever keeping before us the goal of glorifying God.