Google defines the word courage as “ the ability to do something that frightens one” or, strength in the face of pain or grief. But there is something I call “Godly courage,” which every believer needs and it’s about more than this definition from Google. People with Godly courage are people who overcome seemingly impossible adversity or obstacles in a supernatural way because through it, they remained in God (maintained a close relationship with Him and believed in Him and His promises), and relied on the power of the Holy Spirit to help them overcome what would have been otherwise impossible on their own strength. (Think David vs. Goliath and Joshua and the walls of Jericho). To have the Godly courage to overcome, we must first understand that our strength does not come from ourselves. There are many self- help mottos, books, and even whole religions out there telling us to believe in ourselves and to find our “inner strength.” But that is all vacuous, false information because we cannot do it on our own. To find the truth we have to go to the Bible, the infallible Word of God. The Bible teaches us in these verses from John 15, which is that without Jesus, we can do nothing:
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the keeper of the vineyard. 2 He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, and every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes to make it even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.
5 I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers. Such branches are gathered up, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, proving yourselves to be My disciples.
— John 15:1-8 (emphasis mine)
Peter is a great example of what a difference it makes when you lean on yourself for courage vs. when you lean on God for courage and boldness. Before Resurrection and Pentecost, we see Peter attempting to have courage, but still leaning on himself. We see this on various examples, like when he denied Jesus 3 times, and when he cut the ear off the soldier during Jesus’ arrest in order to “defend” him. But this was earthly courage, and Peter’s actions went against what Jesus was trying to accomplish! And just like Peter, if we’re leaning on ourselves, in an attempt to be “courageous,” we can make some extremely unwise decisions that go against the will of God in our lives! And we can hurt other people in the process as well! (PS- Jesus healed the man’s ear btw!)
But after Jesus resurrected and the Holy Spirit came upon Peter and the other disciples at Pentecost, what a change we see! We see another kind of courage: a Godly courage. Suddenly we see Peter the Gospel boldly in front of crowds (when he previously denied Jesus), filled with the Holy Spirit, and proclaiming the word of God to thousands of people, leading them to salvation, and helping to establish the early church. We see him being used by God to pray over the sick and heal them, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Even though this early church faced tremendous prosecution, they overcame! To the point that we today, are still reaping from the good seeds they sowed. We are a result of that! Can you believe it?!
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” — Matthew 19:26
But that would not have been possible, had these people not relied on Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to give them the supernatural courage and boldness to overcome the tremendous obstacles they faced. That is another kind of courage entirely, it is not self- seeking, it is not aggressive, it is marked by the fruit of the Spirit because it is the Spirit himself that gives you the capacity to do what you need to. It’s truly supernatural! And it’s what happens when you submit your will and desires to those of God’s, and decide to obey and simply abide in Him! Peter was no longer doing things in his own strength, rather he was able to overcome his personal obstacles by simply submitting to the Lord. Now that is Godly courage! And it is exactly what the church needs right now to overcome the obstacles of the last days. The time is critical. So what do we need to have Godly courage?
- Abide in Him. Pray and read the Bible everyday! Also read devotionals, watch sermons. Spend time with God! Learn about God’s promises for us His children. Make this a priority in your daily life.
- Be obedient to God’s word. One of the most essential ways we show our love for the Lord and in which we will see victory in our lives, is by living a life of obedience to God and His Word. Obedience is not to deprive us, we are truly free in the Lord. It is to protect us from the lies of the enemy who seeks to destroy our soul.
- Have a contrite heart. Go to the Lord when you’ve done something wrong and ask for forgiveness, and ask God to examine your heart and let you know of any areas where you are failing Him. Although as Christians we have accepted Jesús and are saved, and we should no longer be living IN sin, but we do still sin. We have not yet been made perfect, therefore we do all still sin against God daily, so we need to be asking God for forgiveness daily.
- Ask God for wisdom and discernment. We make so many decisions in our daily lives, even the seemingly small ones can have a big and lasting impact. Ask God to lead you in making these decisions. Make sure they are in accordance to the Lord’s plan for your life and His Word.
- Ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Through prayer ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Ask Him to control your behavior, thoughts, and to renew your mind. Ask that all your attitudes, words, and actions come from Him. Ask Him to fill you with His love, so you can reflect this back to those around you.
- Remember that you are not of the world. The world will tell us to do things that are in complete opposition to the will of God, but ultimately it is up to us whether we choose to do them. We have to remember that we are not of the world, therefore we do not rely on the world to dictate our actions.
- Remember that your strength comes from the Lord. Don’t rely on yourself for strength, or you won’t be able to achieve the great miracles. Rely on God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Godly courage is to do Godly things! This one may seem sort of obvious lol, but if you want Godly courage, which comes from the power of the Holy Spirit, it is to do Godly things. It is to do the will of God in your life and the life of those around you. You have to desire the will of God be done in your life over your own will.
- Live with an eternal perspective. Always keep in mind that we are here temporarily. Our real home is heaven, however whether we choose to have Godly courage will not only impact your own life, but the life of those around you, and future generations. You can be the tool God uses to bring many people to Him!
- Have faith. Always, because without faith, it is impossible to please God! Remember His promises and believe in them.
God calls for us to be strong and courageous, but we are called to be this way through Him, NOT independently of Him. When we are trusting and leaning on God and the power of the Holy Spirit, we will have the courage and strength to accomplish God’s will for our lives! And remember, God wants incredible things for us that go beyond our imagination or our human ability. So I encourage you today to abide in God and tap in to the Holy Spirit’s power, and the courage it can give you to take you from victory to victory.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. — Ephesians 6:10
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. — Psalm 31:24
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” — Josua 1:9
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. — 1 Cor. 15:57
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. — Jeremiah 29:11