11. Faith Expresses Courage

The more we do something we’re not comfortable to do, the easier it gets to do it. It’s much like the same principle we talked about concerning, the more we say something, the more we believe it. They’re both faith building.

When I started jail ministry, I was so timid and nervous, especially when I was stuck between the two solid, heavy doors, waiting for someone to open one. But the more I went, the less afraid I became. Now, I think nothing of it. I enter with courage, believing that I will be fine AND be leaving there in a short time. When we keep track of the situations God has kept us safe in and brought us through, it gives us faith to step out in courage.

The Children of Israel had no excuse for their unbelief. They, obviously, didn’t keep track. But Joshua and Caleb remembered God’s mighty miracles that delivered them and provided for them. So, when they spied out the land of their inheritance, even though the enemy was mighty, big and many in numbers, they came back with good news about the land. And confidently let the people know that the Lord would go with them and give them the land. They said, “…the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” The courage showed up because they believed.

David has an incredible and very well known story of courage due to his faith in 1 Samuel 17. There was a giant named Goliath who was with the army of the Philistines, who kept running his mouth against the armies of God. David, who was just a youth, the youngest of his siblings, was sent by his dad to bring food to his older brothers and to find out how they were doing. They were with the armies of God, following King Saul. When he arrived there he witnessed the giant that had been harassing them, and although the children of Israel were terrified, David immediately rose up in defense, saying, “For who is this…that he should defy the armies of the living God?” Then he said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” Then Saul responded, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”

But David proceeded to tell him how he rescued his sheep out of the mouth of a lion and a bear. Then this brave teenager added, “Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

 So, King Saul agreed to let him go. And after being ridiculed by the giant because of his age and size, this fearless champion defeated Goliath with just a stone and sling shot, right after he declared, “…This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand…for the battle is the Lord’s…” Talk about courageous faith! Faith goes beyond knowing God can to knowing God will, just as David demonstrated. 

I remember the first time jumping off the high dive. I don’t even know how many times I went back down the ladder because I was too afraid to jump. Until the line was too long behind me and I had no choice but to jump. As with any other similar situation, when we choose to take that courageous jump, we step out of fear and into faith. And the more we do that, the bolder and more courageous we’ll be to step out of our comfort zone.

Another personal example is my first experience on a roller coaster with the loop that takes you upside down. I was very young. As we were in line, the closer we got to getting on the ride, the more afraid I was. I begged my dad to let me take the chicken exit. But he just kept encouraging me, telling me it’ll be okay. I think I got on the ride in tears because of being terrified. By the end of the ride, however, I asked my dad with excitement, “Can we go again?!”

Even if you start out in fear, if you take the challenge and do it any way, you’ll see the fear begin to vanish and your faith get stronger. And if you’ll keep preparing and growing your faith before a challenge, you’ll see yourself actually meet the challenge head on, and step out in fearless courage. Like Peter stepping out of the boat to walk on the water. He had never walked on the water before. But he spent so much time with Jesus. He knew Him. He witnessed so many miracles. His faith was already getting built up. Then the enemy attacked that courage by distracting him (There’s more about that in the previous post). The enemy would like to steal our courage. But he can’t if we don’t allow him to. We’ve just got to stick with the Word of God and do what it says… “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.” Hebrews 10:35

We have to choose to let go of fear and grab a tight hold of faith and go for it!

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9