The varieties of courage

Eleventh in the COURAGE series

As Christians, we know it is right to be courageous, but we do not have a strict categorization of what courage is at any given time.

We know we are to follow Christ, putting Him ahead of family and friends (Mat 10:37; Luke 14:26). We confess the Lord no matter what it costs us (2 Tim 2:12). We are to consider others better than ourselves (Phil 2:3), so in defending life, others come first. As we read God's Word, we gain many insights and if we pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17), guidance will be granted, yet each situation is unique.

In the Bible there were some who stood down when they should have stood up. Elijah had shown great courage over the time of the drought, but he became depressed and could not shake off the fears and doubts, so he was replaced by Elisha, for God had instructed him and he would not rise up. (1 Ki 19)

Earlier in this series we saw that Josiah showed courage in going out to battle against the Egyptians, but it was not his fight so his death was untimely. Nevertheless he remains as an example of obedience and courage as does Elijah; we all fail in some trials.

The key to any situation is to know the right course of action. Should we boldly rise up against evil or be silent and wait on the Lord? Obedience could fall either way.

To practice obedience, we must be close to God, and only when we are very weak can we rely wholly on his strength. My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor 12:9)

Yes, weakness for the Christian can assist in courage, which we will need no matter whether we rise up or stand down. And it could take as much courage to resist passively as actively.

As we look around our nation and see the demise of the ideals and culture that once encircled us with protection, we may cry for times gone by. Yet we confidently know God does not change and He is with us to the end (Mat 28:20). The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? (Ps 118:6)

In distressing days, Christians have opportunities to show courage, and if we are affected by economic weakness in our households, let it be an incentive to prayer and spiritual renewal. How will we cling to Christ until we have great need?

The Scripture encourages us: For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (Heb 12:4)

Of course it is possible that in time we, too, will be called to resist unto blood, but in that day, the most courageous man in the world will be with us. To him we will lift our eyes in the next post of this series.