What’s In A Word? – Courage

One of my most treasured possessions is a signed copy of my favorite novel, The Traitor Prince. Inside the front cover, hand-scrawled by the author herself, is the phrase that sealed this story forever in my heart and soul: Fear out.Courage in

Courage has been a theme in my life since a family trip to Colorado in 2017 when it became clear to me all at once how fear above all else had become my guide through life. And I was done with all that nonsense. Slowly but surely ever since, I have been unspooling the reel of courage wrapped tight within myself, stuffed away through pain and heartache and the subsequent unleashing of an anxiety disorder during my adolescence. Seizing hold of courage has allowed me to write the book(s) of my heart, travel solo, teach in front of a crowd, begin a small business, seek therapy, and step boldly into my calling from the Creator Himself. 

Courage is not optional if we are going to walk the path God has called us to, because persecution is not optional, either. To withstand the latter, we must have the former. But human bravery often falters in the face of spiritual onslaught; even Jesus wept at what was to come for him in the torture and hanging on the Cross. We find our courage exactly where he found his—in the hope and promises and strength of God.

Ultimately we must choose what we will focus on: the fear of tomorrow or the God who holds it. 

Choose God. Choose bravery. Choose the next step.

Exhale fear. Inhale courage.

What is Courage?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” A more widely-used definition is that courage is “the presence of fear, yet the willingness to carry on.”

Each of us will face things in this life that require courage if we’re going to endure them; it can be anything from a battlefield to a threatening situation to a necessary conversation/confrontation or a struggle with mental or physical illness, grief, etc. Courage is not demanded only of those facing physical harm, but also of anyone who stands to incur injury from a decision. 

Jesus warned his followers that they’d face difficult times, persecution, scorn, and worse. It takes courage to face those things and not become jaded, hopeless, or led astray, so no wonder the Bible admonishes us over and over to have courage! 

What Does the Bible Say About Courage?

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6

I have told you these things so that, in union with me, you have peace. In the world you will have hardships, but have courage; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

Be watchful, stand fast in the faith, be courageous, be strong…

1 Corinthians 16:13

How Can I Become More Courageous? 

While anyone can fake bravery in times of crisis, true courage comes from having our feet planted in Truth. Understanding the power of our God, the importance of the spiritual battle, and the promises of the future enables us to not just plaster on a smile in difficult times, but to draw strength to stand and stay in the fight.

When we firmly grasp the magnitude of the love and promises of God, it broadens our perspective. 

When we submit ourselves to Him, we put aside the need for false, showy bravery and accept Him as our strength. 

When we lean on Him to guide our steps and hide His Word in our hearts, we can step boldly into difficult confrontations. 

When we trust the future that is ensured through our salvation, the trials of this life consume less of us. 

When we truly comprehend the magnitude of the love He has lavished on us and how precious we are in His sight, the opinions of others grow dim. 

And when we fathom the enormity of His commission to us, the vastness of His grace, and that the very souls of people are at stake just as ours once were, it becomes more crucial and more personal than ever that we live with Christlike love and courage, no matter the cost.

Ultimately, it is by knowing God through and through, from past to present to future hope, that we learn to have courage that surpasses any challenge we face in this life.

Take Action!

What is one area of your life where you need more courage? Which of God’s promises will help you grow your courage and conquer this area?

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1 comment

  1. Dear Renee Dugan,

    In writing about discipline and courage you may have created a Frankenstein monster out of me. I need both discipline and courage to make known my differences with majority Christianity, differences that you will hate. Here are thirteen of my differences with majority Christianity:

    1. Jesus is not God. He is a human being and only a human being, but he is at the center of Yahweh God’s creation.

    2. God is not impassible. Because of God’s intimate relationship with each and every human being God experiences all of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual pain experienced by each and every human being. God did not have to become a human being to experience human suffering. God does not have a body. He is pure Spirit. He does not have eyes, an optic nerve nor a brain with a visual cortex and yet he can see the color blue. Likewise, just because he doesn’t have pain cells or a brain doesn’t mean that he cannot feel physical pain. He who sees Jesus sees the Father. I see Jesus suffering on that Roman cross. I therefore see the Father suffering.

    3. The earth is young. I reject the Christian version of Darwinism known as theistic evolution. God created the universe for the enjoyment and understanding of his human family, a family that needs Jesus for its very existence. I have doubts about the Bishop Ussher biblical chronology. I tentatively embrace the Patriarchal Calendar theory which puts the year of creation as 11,013 BC developed by a disgraced radio preacher. May God bless him.

    4. Adam and Eve were never perfect. If Adam and Eve had been perfect specimens of humanity, they would never have sinned. By definition, perfect people cannot sin. They did not have the Spirit of God. They were an example of the natural man (see 1 Cor. 2:14) made only in the imperfect image of God. Jesus was the first human being made in the perfect image of God. Being made in the perfect image of God is what salvation is all about. Adam and Eve needed God’s work in Jesus before they sinned. Jesus was never Plan B to be put in practice in case Adam and Eve sinned. Jesus was always Plan A. Adam and Eve did not have eternal life. They had an inferior form of immortality that came from an external source, The Tree of Life. Eternal life in its fulness, on the other hand, gives the individual life within himself as God has (see John 5:26). Adam and Eve were by nature, mortal. God did not have to make one change in their bodily existence for them to begin to age after being denied the fruit from the Tree of Life.

    5. God’s angels did not rebel against him. There is not story in the entire OT of an angelic rebellion. Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 are about evil human kings symbols for Adam’s rebellion. The Latin word “Lucifer” is a descriptive word for the star (really a planet) that we call “Venus”, the third brightest object in the sky after the sun and moon. This reference to the Light Bearer or Morning Star was part of a sarcastic taunt that was to be directed at the king of Babylon. I doubt if God would have used the Latin language to name his chief angel who supposedly rebelled against him. “Lucifer” came from St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate Bible via the King James English translation. The King James translators used the Vulgate as one of their guides inasmuch as the English language lacked many of the words found in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. Such words as the Greek “aionios” translated into English as “eternal” from the Latin, “aeternus”. In any event, angels are called the “mighty ones who do his [Yahweh’s] word, obeying the voice of his word” (Psalm 103:20). And, I doubt very much if Jesus would have us pray: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” if heaven contained the most evil creatures, rebellious angels, in creation. Also, the Serpent, is a symbol for human wisdom. Jesus advised his disciples to “be wise as serpents”. The Serpent in the Garden of Eden was Eve’s own wisdom. She was talking with herself. He great wisdom was not evil. But it was mistaken. She sinned by following her own wisdom rather than God’s commandment. The devil and Satan are symbols for the lies and feelings residing in our own yet imperfect hearts that are antagonistic to the Spirit that also resides in our hearts. Jesus was being tempted by his own needs and wisdom, which unlike Eve, he rejected in favor of the Father’s will as revealed in the Scriptures.

    Well, I have eight more differences to go, but I’ve written too much already. Thank you for your writings. I pray that God will cure me of my lack of discipline and cowardice. May God shower you with his blessings.

    Rowland F. Stenrud

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