So, how can you gain courage in your troubling times? Do you have to wait around for a rainbow to flash across the sky? Follow the promptings of Scripture here:
Where does your boldness come from in sharing the good news with someone? Does it come from your way with words? Does it come from your ability to sound polished and smooth?
Ephesians 4:15 tells us to "speak the truth in love." Truth and love combined reveals who God is. You see, people will be convinced by the truth when they experience God's character through you.
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” Genesis 32:24-26 NIV
We often think of needing courage for a battle ahead. When the threat of attack closes in, it's time to pick up our courage. But, do you ever think of needing courage in your relationship with God? Of course, you can have a distant relationship at no real cost of courage. But, the intimate relationship with God that you long for will take courage on your part.
Jacob had this courage. He wrestled with this angelic visitor (who many commentators call Jesus) for many hours. How Jacob lasted that long, I'll never know (good question for him in heaven). But the fact is - Jacob held onto this man and would not let him go until he received a blessing.
Jacob wasn't content to just know about God. He wasn't even content only to wrestle with him. Jacob wanted more. He hung on for the blessing. What a privilege to know the closeness of the Father and also to receive his words of affirmation. It took courage for Jacob to keep wrestling and holding out for the blessing.
This story tells us a lot about God. He engages with us. He loves relating with us in a close way. God did not take away Jacob's initiative in wrestling and calling out for a blessing. I believe God loved the interaction and Jacob's determination to be blessed. He admired Jacob's courage.
Jacob even recognized his own courageous and very risky behavior. He states later, "I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared" (Genesis 32:30 NIV). It takes courage to be intimate. Would you grab onto God and call out for his affirmation? Could you do that? Would it be appropriate?
Oh yes it would. God longs for you to engage with him like that. He waits for your pursuit… for your courageous pursuit toward intimacy. He loves the wrestle. He loves you.
It is in the recognition and submission to the Lordship of Jesus that we gain courage. Without submission, we are left insecure.
Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few. 1 Samuel 14:6 NIV
The Israelites were quaking with fear. The Philistine army kept attacking them and winning. The military and economic domination was so great that the Israelites didn't even have their own weapons to fight with. A big reason for this was the ungodly leadership of king Saul. Into this scene of a gloating Philistine army and a demoralized Israel steps Jonathan and his armor-bearer.
Jonathan, son of king Saul, had an inkling that if he stepped out and faced the enemy, God would rush to his aid. With his armor-bearer right behind, Jonathan ran toward the enemy, and God met him on the way. In fact, the two brave men scaled a cliff with the Philistine detachment waiting at the top. After finishing the climb, Jonathan and his armor-bearer routed the Philistine detachment, killing twenty men in a small space.
Courage comes on the way to meet the enemy. In other words, God comes on us with his spirit of power and bravery as we step out in faith. Jonathan put himself in a place of desperately needing God to break through. If God didn't come, Jonathan and his armor-bearer would certainly die.
Courage is not reckless. It is stepping out in faith on the word of the Lord. This courage increases as we get active in obeying God's strategy in moving his kingdom forward. It is hard to find courage from the armchair. Simple steps of obedience will activate the movement of God's courage in your life. He rushes to meet you on the battlefield.
As a result of Jonathan's brave and selfless act, God sent a panic through the Philistine camp. The enemy began turning on each other as fear and mayhem broke loose. The courage of Jonathan gave momentum for the larger miracle of the enemy's total defeat.
Step out today, and the God of courage will meet you.
Missionary. Teacher. Worship Leader. Deeply desiring to make God's Word accessible and understandable to all. May you be transformed as God's Word fills your life.
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