Courage (Part 3)

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls. (Hebrews 10:36-39 ESV). The elderly woman in this picture is Sterling Broughton; she is being moved from a rescue boat onto a kayak after flood waters forced her evacuation. As we close this little series dealing with courage, I want to focus on the real storm of life. Our reading today reminds us that we all need “endurance.” That’s just another way of saying we need courage in the face of certain trial and challenge. The writer reminds us that all of the danger and challenge of life is nothing in the face of what has been promised to us. Our souls are preserved by the God of resurrection! When Jesus stepped out of the tomb, he defeated the greatest “giant” we could ever face. He defeated death itself! For the Christian, a lack of courage, what the writer of Hebrews calls “shrinking back” is always evidence of a lack faith in a promise of God. Some “Goliath” is looming larger than God in our sight and taunting us into humiliation. All we see is how weak and pathetic we are, and how inadequate we are to face him. Fighting him seems impossible, and the thought immobilizes us. All of us experience this fear. So did David. David is such a helpful example for us, not only because he fueled his confidence and courage to face Goliath from God’s promises, but also because he so frequently felt fearful and needed to encourage his soul again by remembering God’s promises. But faith made David more than courageous. When he heard the Philistine defy the living God and his army, it made David angry. Goliath’s taunts and accusations scorned God’s glory. And when no one stepped up to defend God’s name, it made God look weak. David would not tolerate that. And such should also be our response to every fear and “lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God” (cf. 2 Corinthians 10:5). Our fears are not primarily about us, even though they feel that way. Our fears are primarily about God. They cast doubt on God’s character and suggest He is weak, or non-existent. They defy God. That is an outrage, and our call is to stop cowering and stand up to our fears, not allowing them to intimidate us into unbelief. We are overcomers through Christ! These giants, who are bigger than we are and very intimidating to our flesh, will be slain just like David’s was by faith. And our courage to face them will not come from our self-confidence. It will only come from confidence in God’s powerful promises. Whatever you face today, is there really anything greater to fear than death? That enemy is already defeated. Nothing can separate us from the love of our God. Don’t get angry at God because of this momentary trial’ get angry at the devil who would turn you from the real power to sustain you in your...

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