The Keys to Courage

Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Joshua 1:6-9

Throughout the Bible Christians are called, like Joshua, to be courageous. However, in too many of our churches, the lack of courage is a unifying theme, whether it be fear of confronting sin or fear of sharing the gospel publicly. This isn’t just a problem of Christians but of our society broadly. The famous Russian author, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, who was exiled from the Soviet Union for challenging the communist government, observed this problem nearly 50 years ago. In his address to Harvard in 1978, Solzhenitsyn stated, “A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today.” This problem has only gotten worse over the intervening years. However, Christians hold the solution in their hands. Through His Word, God has provided us many reasons why we can be brave, why we need to be brave, and how we can be brave. 

So, why can we be brave? In Psalms 27:14, God promises us the gift of a strong heart. The Bible states, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” Please notice, we are first commanded to “be of good courage” before He promises to strengthen our heart. This is the essence of faith. No faith would be required if He strengthens us first. We must step out courageously in faith, trusting that God will strengthen our hearts with enough courage for any trial we face. Secondly, God promises us His presence. In Matthew 28:20b Jesus promises, “lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” We can be brave because He is with us. He is standing with us during our trials, and He is walking alongside us through our valleys. And we know, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31b) 

It is not enough to know why we can be brave, we also need to know why we need to be brave. We need to be brave because dark days are ahead (2 Timothy 3:1). And the world is full of evil rulers (Ephesians 6:12) who hate us (John 15:19 & 1 John 3:13). However, most importantly of all, we are commanded to be brave. 1 Corinthians 16:13 “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” To courageously stand fast like strong men, is not a suggestion and is not advice. We are commanded and called to hold to our faith no matter what we face.

That is all well and good, but how can we be brave? In Ephesians 6:10-19, we are provided a spiritual toolkit, or armor, critical for courage. His Word shall be our sword, faith will be our shield, and salvation itself shall be our helmet. Through the whole armor of God, we can be courageous. It is in Joshua 1 itself that we get the full answer to the question “How can we be brave?”. In verse 8, we are told to never let “This book of the law” (the Bible) depart from our mouth and to meditate on it at all times. Yet, it is not enough to just intellectually consider it, we must also “observe to do” it as well. Through intentional thought and action, we follow God’s commands, and He promises to bless us with good success. 

Cowardice does not have to define us. God has already given us all the tools and reasons to be courageous. We know why we can, why we need to, and how we can be brave. His promises are the foundation of our courage. His reasons are the motivation for our courage. And through donning our spiritual armor and following His Word, we can live courageously.

Leave a Comment