Courage is the ability to face conflicts, career changes, difficult tasks, illnesses, and loss with strength. We all need courage, but the problem is––we are not naturally brave and courageous. In fact, we are instinctively quite the opposite striving to protect ourselves and nurture our own self-interest. Dying daily to self while choosing to courageously embrace what is right and best, over what is safe and ultimately detrimental — is hard. But, the good news is, it’s not impossible. So, how do we grow in courage? The answer is––With God’s help!
Over the years, I’ve discovered the greatest source of true courage to be found in Jesus Christ. When we recognize Jesus as our provider of courage, He can give us the power to say and do what is right, regardless of the consequences. He can deliver us from fear and give us the courage to take on new challenges, confront conflict with confidence, pursue career changes, and face illnesses, loss, and a multitude of other adversities with unwavering faith. I’ve found the best way to draw daily from God’s well of courage is to implement the following 5 practices.
- Acknowledge God’s Presence
When you feel alone, afraid, and incompetent, dwell on the truth from the Word of God. Remind yourself God will never leave you or forsake you (Joshua 1:9). The Bible tells us there is not a place we can go where He will not be there (Psalm 139:7-12). So, when you are in need of courage, recognize the Lord as the provider of what you need by crying out to Him and acknowledging His presence.
- Pray God’s Promises
Whether you are in a place of spiritual and emotional weakness and don’t know what to pray or you are just continuing to seek the Lord and walk in His ways––pray God’s promises! When you pray God’s Word back to Him, He honors and answers such prayers. So, when you struggle with fear, doubt, and worry, pray the promises of God. As you make this a practice in your life, God will empower you to speak, respond, and act with courage (Psalm 138:3).
- Trust God’s Heart
When you are tempted to question God and His plan for your life, recall the character of God (2 Samuel 10:12) and trust His heart (Psalm 112:7). As you read your Bible, you will be reminded God is good, wise, loving, just, compassionate, and so much more. The lyrics to the song “Trust His Heart” by Christian songwriter Babbie Mason are so biblical and true––“When you don’t understand––when you don’t see His plan––when you can’t trace His hand, Trust His Heart.” As you trust God, especially when you are fearful, He will provide you with courage.
- Hope in God’s Word
Biblical hope is an expectation of certainty that God is going to act. Because we can expect God to act in accordance with His Word, we can live with courage (Psalm 31:24). When your heart is weak and fearful, hope in God’s Word (Psalm 119:81)––He will do what He says He will do!
- Wait for God’s Help
Whether it is waiting for traffic to subside, waiting in line, waiting to get married, or waiting for God to restore a wayward child, “waiting” is difficult. The “waiting period” can be especially challenging since we live in a culture that promotes all things instantaneous. But, when you are tempted to fear, worry, and react too quickly––wait––wait on the Lord (Psalm 27:14). Wait for Him to open the right doors for you. Wait for Him to bring the right person (whether it be a spouse or employee) into your life. Wait for Him to restore your wayward child. And while you wait, seek the Lord in prayer and Bible study. As you do, He will fill your heart with courage (Isaiah 40:31).