The Courage to Act

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.”
— Joshua 1:7 NIV

“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.”
— Joshua 1:9 NIV

“Courage is the ability to do the right thing, all the time, no matter how painful or uncomfortable it might be… It takes courage to say ‘no’. It takes courage to stand up for your convictions.”
Tony Dungy

The term courage is derived from the Latin root cor, which literally means heart or core. The original use of the word courage meant to act according to one’s core. Many Christian men know what the Holy Spirit is speaking to them deep in the core of their being, yet, there’s no corresponding action. Courage is all about movement towards what you know is true. It’s learned in the moment you take that first step of faith. Sometimes courageous action means standing firm in your conviction in the face of opposition.

When considering the word courage, often what comes to mind is some heroic act of bravery like a fireman risking his life by running into a burning building to rescue someone. Such acts certainly take courage. Sometimes we wonder if we’d have what it takes to die as a martyr for Christ. I do believe God gives a special grace in moments like that. Dying as a martyr certainly would take incredible courage. However, it also takes courage to live for Christ, day in and day out, making hard choices with integrity. I like how D.C. Talk and The Voice of The Martyrs put it. “You may never have to face the decision of whether or not to die for your faith, but every day you face the decision of whether or not you will live for it.” Living authentically sometimes takes more courage than dying.

For Joshua being strong and courageous not only meant facing his fears and trusting God as he led his army into battle (Joshua 1:9), but courage also meant walking consistently with God and being obedient to Him. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go” (Joshua 1:7). Staying focused on God’s way took courage. It also brought success.

When men live courageously, amazing things happen. Healing and hope come when we have the courage to expose our wounds to the light of God’s truth and love. Families are restored. Jobs are created. Wars are won. “Give me a hundred men who fear nothing but sin, and desire nothing but God,” said John Wesley, “and I will shake the world. I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; and such alone will overthrow the kingdom of Satan and build up the Kingdom of God on earth.”

The Apostle Paul was courageous. We already read about his praising God in the prison dungeon after being nearly flogged to death. Listen to this:

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace” (Acts 20:22-24 NIV).

Let us take courage and be moved to walk in faith believing that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Prayer to IGNITE:

Lord, thank you for giving me the courage to follow the leading of your Spirit, regardless of the risk. May your faithfulness give me the courage to make whatever changes, to take whatever risks, you require of me in the future.

*A devotional from “Ignite Your Faith” by Dr. Tim Clinton and Max Davis