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by Scott Wylie

The biblical characteristic of courage is an essential quality for believers as they navigate through the challenges and uncertainties of life. Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the willingness to act in obedience to God's calling and purposes, relying on His strength and guidance. The Bible provides numerous examples of individuals who displayed remarkable courage, empowered by their faith in God.

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Infographic on the Biblical characteristic of Courage

What is Courage?

One of the most well-known verses on courage is found in Joshua 1:9, where God encourages Joshua as he prepares to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land, saying, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9, ESV). This verse highlights the connection between courage and God's presence. As believers, we can draw courage from the assurance that God is with us in every situation.

In another example, David, a young shepherd boy, demonstrated great courage in facing the giant Goliath. He declared, "You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied" (1 Samuel 17:45, ESV). David's courage came from his unwavering faith in God's power and deliverance.

Cultivate Courage

So, how can we develop the biblical characteristic of courage in our own lives? Here are a few tips:

  1. Seek God's presence: Develop a deep and intimate relationship with God through prayer, worship, and studying His Word. Draw strength and courage from His presence. Deuteronomy 31:6 reminds us, "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."

  2. Know God's promises: Meditate on God's promises and faithfulness throughout Scripture. Take comfort in knowing that He is faithful to fulfill His promises. Psalm 27:1 declares, "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"

  3. Embrace obedience: Step out in faith and obedience to God's calling, even when it feels uncomfortable or intimidating. Trust that God will equip and empower you for the task. Isaiah 41:10 assures us, "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

  4. Surround yourself with supportive believers: Seek fellowship with fellow believers who can encourage and support you in your journey of courage. Hebrews 10:24-25 encourages us, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."

  5. Face your fears with faith: Identify the areas in your life where fear holds you back and confront them with faith. Place your trust in God's power and guidance. Psalm 56:3 reminds us, "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."

  6. Draw strength from previous victories: Reflect on past experiences where God has provided courage and deliverance. Remembering God's faithfulness can fuel your courage in present circumstances. Psalm 118:14 declares, "The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."

  7. Seek wise counsel: Seek guidance and counsel from mature and wise believers who can provide insight and support. Proverbs 15:22 advises, "Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed."

  8. Pray for courage daily: Bring your fears, anxieties, and concerns to God in prayer. Ask Him to grant you courage to face challenges and to trust in His power. Psalm 31:24 says, "Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!"

  9. Embrace perseverance: Courage often requires perseverance through trials and difficulties. Endure with faith, knowing that God is refining your character and strengthening your courage. James 1:12 encourages us, "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him."

  10. Surrender to God's plan: Trust in God's sovereignty and surrender your plans and desires to His will. Find courage in knowing that His plans are ultimately for your good and His glory. Proverbs 3:5-6 advises, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths."

By seeking God's presence, knowing His promises, embracing obedience, surrounding ourselves with supportive believers, facing our fears with faith, drawing strength from previous victories, seeking wise counsel, praying for courage daily, embracing perseverance, and surrendering to God's plan, we can develop and cultivate the biblical characteristic of courage. Let us trust in God's strength and walk boldly in obedience, knowing that He is with us in every step of the journey.

Prayer and Reading Guide for Developing Courage

Here is a list of ten things people could pray for to develop courage, along with a corresponding Bible verse from the ESV for each one:

  1. Pray for courage to step out in faith:
    "Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!" - Psalm 31:24

  2. Pray for courage to face challenges and obstacles:
    "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." - Philippians 4:13

  3. Pray for courage to stand firm in your convictions:
    "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." - 1 Corinthians 16:13

  4. Pray for courage to speak the truth:
    "And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit." - Mark 13:11

  5. Pray for courage to persevere through trials:
    "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." - James 1:2-3

  6. Pray for courage to share the Gospel boldly:
    "And also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel." - Ephesians 6:19

  7. Pray for courage to forgive and reconcile:
    "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you." - Matthew 6:14

  8. Pray for courage to love sacrificially:
    "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers." - 1 John 3:16

  9. Pray for courage to resist temptation:
    "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13

  10. Pray for courage to trust God's plan and timing:
    "Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!" - Psalm 27:14

In conclusion, developing courage is an essential aspect of the Christian walk. Through prayer, reliance on God's presence, knowledge of His promises, obedience, support from fellow believers, facing fears with faith, drawing strength from previous victories, seeking wise counsel, daily prayer for courage, perseverance, and surrendering to God's plan, we can cultivate the biblical characteristic of courage. May we be strengthened by God's Spirit and walk boldly in His calling, trusting in His faithfulness and relying on His strength in every circumstance.

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