To be born again implies a clash. A Christian is always counter-culturing, swimming upstream, and challenging the status quo in order to make a change for the better. This makes the quality of courage absolutely necessary, without courage, the best of intentions will fail; in fact, vision without courage will merely produce a flood of frustration and anger not only at the circumstances of life, but at life and at oneself.
Courage is more than just a willingness to engage in a clash. It’s a willingness to go the distance when the vision is no longer clear, when you are tired, when there is no one to encourage you to keep going. Courage is a lasting commitment to be true to God and the you that He created no matter what you are facing, even if it is your own reflection.
The heroes of the faith were not born heroes. They were born again heroes. Their God given faith drove them to do what others would not do. They would risk it all to bring life to Jesus’ prayer “Your Kingdom come! Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” And when they stood boldly and proclaimed the truth, those that heard were set free and the Kingdom came to them.
For most people courage is the stuff of movies. It is to be admired in other people, for the nature of all mankind is to avoid risk, to protect oneself and position in the community and be as widely accepted as possible. The truth is we are most comfortable swimming in the middle of the stream of low commitment.
When it comes to following Christ, to being a disciple, this lack of courage is called “nominalism” -- people who like the concept of being a Christian, some like the idea of the “moral code” to follow (sometimes) and may even go to church, but they run from any and every opportunity to make a personal sacrifice on behalf of God’s Kingdom.
Jesus cuts this group no slack when He says: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ - Matthew 7:21-23 NASB
Courage has a number of facets to it: the willingness to be in opposition to, the willingness to be opposed, the willingness to wait, and the willingness to continue on. In order to fight what is evil, the man or woman of god must be willing to stand in the face of threats, fears, and risks. What is God calling you to combat in your world? One thing to remember here is that it isn’t people you are to fight or oppose.
Remember Paul’s words, that “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12
Your courage will be demonstrated in your willingness to handle opposition even persecution. The more you challenge the status quo, the more people will assail you, seek to marginalize you, and libel you. Jesus offered these words of encouragement: “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
- Matthew 5:11-12
Christianity is made of followers who will not back down when it comes to righteousness, who will not conform instinctively to cultural currents. Courage is not blind, but is directed by the sovereign hand of God. It is not out of control, but walks in obedient submission to the Holy Spirit. Courage embraces risk for the reward of the Kingdom.
-- Pastor ClintShare on Twitter Share on Facebook