What does the Bible teach about courage?The Bible abounds with stories of courage. One of the Hebrew words translated "courage" means "to show oneself strong." Moses was courageous when he confronted the Pharaoh of Egypt and commanded him to let God's people go. Joshua was courageous when he conquered Canaan. Young David was courageous when he faced and fell the giant Philistine, Goliath.
However, the most important thing the Bible says about courage is what ought to be the basis of our courage. It is the promise of God's presence, power, and perseverance with those who have put their faith in Him which is the basis for our courage. For example, when Moses appointed Joshua as his successor to lead the Israelites, he said to Joshua, "Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed" (Deuteronomy 31:7–8). This same type of language is used repeatedly in the Bible. Another noteworthy example is when King David encourages his son Solomon to build the temple: "Then David said to Solomon his son, 'Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the LORD God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished'" (1 Chronicles 28:20).
Jesus encouraged His disciples with words like, "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20) and "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). He promised the Holy Spirit who would live with believers forever (John 14:16–17; Ephesians 1:13–14). Paul similarly credits our relationship with God through Jesus Christ as the basis for our courage when he says, "If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? … Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Romans 8:31–37). The writer of Hebrews similarly affirms, "for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'" (Hebrews 13:5–6).
Biblically speaking, we can only be courageous by having faith and confidence in the fact that God is with us and for us. Not only does such confidence inspire courage but it dispels the opposite, our fears. Jesus, who is God in the flesh, admonished His followers frequently, not to be afraid, but to believe in Him. For example, He said, "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me" (John 14:1).
Jesus' entire life was one of courage—from calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:23–27) to standing firm against the temptations of Satan in the desert (Matthew 4:1–11). Jesus is the most courageous Man alive. Perhaps His most courageous act is when He overcame sin, death, and hell by sacrificing Himself on Calvary's cross for those who would believe in Him and rose from the dead to reign at the Father's right hand. God gave Him the name that is above all names (Philippians 2:6–11). By believing in Him and walking in the Spirit, believers can live courageous lives as we do battle against the world's fallen value system, our own remaining sin, and the devil himself.
True courage means believing that God is with us and for us in His triune nature (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 8:35–39), and then living the truth out in our daily lives.
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