Courage – The key to patience
Courage is the opposite of cowardice. Courage steps up when cowardice steps back. Courage is a product of faith while cowardice is born of unbelief. Cowardice fears everything. Courage fears only God.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10
“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” Psalm 27:1
“The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:14
“In the world you shall have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Courage is needed to face life’s trials and tribulations. When the unexpected comes crashing down and your faith is pushed to the limit, it takes courage to get up and face the day, to stay hopeful, to trust that Jesus will cover the small things as well as the overwhelming. Courage.
This is why courage is a foundational virtue for life, like faith, hope and humility. They undergird all the others. Courage especially bolsters patience. Courage is to patience as a strong hull is to a boat; it makes it solid, unsinkable, seaworthy.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience (perseverance, endurance, steadfastness) have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing..” James 1:2-4
Without courage to persevere we could never have victory in prolonged conflict. Some of the things that oppose us are not conquered overnight, they take time, patience. Correcting lifestyle choices that have led to sinful excess and even addiction take time to overcome. Obesity, drug addiction, alcoholism, anger, disease, are examples of tribulation that can take time to defeat in life.
Jesus has overcome the world, He has defeated sin, death and the grave, and He has made us more than conquerors over the weapons of Satan by the blood of Jesus Christ. We have the victory. But like the children of Israel moving into the promised land, we must take the land, defeating the enemies. This is the long obedience, the extended conflict. This is where patience has its perfect work – this is where courage is essential.
Without courage endurance can run thin against strong opponents. This is why the Lord told Joshua, before beginning their journey into the unknown, “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
“Be courageous, Joshua, I am with you!” What an en’courage’ment that is to our soul! God is with us, we can do this!
If you find yourself fearful to take on something in your life that you know will take a long time, maybe years, to defeat, and you dread it and wonder if you have what it takes, the patience, the perseverance, you need courage.
One of the ways to cultivate courage, dear one, is fasting. For in fasting you deny yourself for a relatively short time and replace the craving and hunger of your flesh with feeding on the goodness of the Lord, practicing His presence, prayer, reading His word, demonstrating to your flesh that Jesus is your Lord, not your appetite.
Fasting and prayer will help develop the courage to believe that the things in your life that require a long perseverance to overcome, are within the victory Jesus has already provided. Walk in it. You can do it. The promised land is just over the river.