What Is “Courage”?

Neal Pollard

We are told by some in society that true courage is what is required to love yourself, do your own thing, and be who you are.  Those with a certainly world view and philosophy would tell you that the mother who aborts her helpless unborn child, the young person who chooses to tell family and friends about a homosexual relationship, one who walks out on a marriage in difficult (or not so difficult) time, one who validates another person’s sinful choices, or the like is “courageous.”   The majority has always favored and encouraged sinful lifestyles.  But, the majority are on the “broad way” to “destruction” (Mat. 7:13).

Is it courage to choose to walk a way God has warned against walking?  Is it courage to choose whatever way feels or seems good to us (Prov. 14:12; 16:25)?  Is it courage to put a wall between ourselves and God (Isa. 59:1-2)?  Courage is defined by God differently.  Courage is standing up for God’s Word without fear (Phil. 1:14). Courage involves taking personal risk in order to do what pleases God (cf. Mark 15:43).  Courage involves sticking it out despite opposition and persecution from the world for doing what God says is right (John 16:33). Courage is not giving up, but doing what is right even when it means suffering for it (Acts 23:11).

Let us refuse to let the world define courage for us.  The world’s values are usually backward (cf. Isa. 5:20).  May we have the courage to let God tell us what it means to be courageous!

2 thoughts on “What Is “Courage”?

  1. May I put forth that courage as defined by Jesus on the sermon on the mount is also defined as

    “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
    “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

    (Matthew 6:25-34 ESV)

    Worry is a type of fear and we must guard against such as Jesus says.

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