What Does It Take to Be Courageous?

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What Does It Take to Be Courageous?

“I am the LORD;
there is no other God.

I have equipped you for battle,
though you don’t even know me,
so all the world from east to west
will know there is no other God.

I am the LORD, and there is no other.
I create the light and make the darkness.

I send good times and bad times.
I, the LORD, am the one who does these things” 

(Isaiah 45:5-7).

Courage back-builds as we spend time soaked in the Truth of God’s Word. Understanding who God is and who we are as His children allows us to realize our need for Him. When we don’t know what’s going to happen, God is already there. He is all-knowing, everywhere, all of the time.

There is no other God, Isaiah repeated three times in today’s key verses. Any time a word or phrase is repeated in Scripture, we can assume it’s of heightened importance. There is no other God. He alone is mighty to save. He gives us what we need to live the lives He’s put us on earth to live, before we even know who He is. We have a never-ending supply of courage available to us, through Christ Jesus. His Holy Spirit lives in us, activating a supernatural bravery in each of us who call Him our Savior. The One True God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is no other.

Our hope is in Him. Our hope comes from Him, as does the courage and bravery we need to wait patiently on Him. 

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How Does the Bible Define Courage?

open Bible outside at sunrise

“I, the LORD, am the one who does these things” (Isaiah 45:7).

Courage is born from confidence in our Creator. Courage shows up fifty times in the New Living Translation of the Bible. The dictionary definition of courage is “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.” We aren’t promised an easy life following Christ Jesus, but we are guaranteed all we need to accomplish what the Lord has set us here to do.

Halley’s Bible Handbook Notes explains “God’s superiority over idols is proven by His ability to foretell the future. Says Isaiah, our God, whom we worship in our Hebrew nation, not only can do what human beings do, He can do some things that they cannot do: He can foretell things to come.” Psalm 27:14 says, 

“Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, with patiently for the LORD.”

Courage can be stillness, seeking the Lord and waiting patiently for His direction and wisdom. Instead of rushing to the aid of others to download a situation in exchange for opinions, we wait on the Lord. Instead of allowing our reactions to go unfiltered, we wait on the Lord’s direction. It sometimes takes more courage to be still and silent. Jesus often retreated to pray to the Lord, and returned strengthened. Isaiah wrote:

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

God is doing all of the work! He is with us, and He is God! He strengthens us and helps us. He holds us up in His victorious right hand. Christ Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, victorious over death. He willingly sacrificed His life for us on the cross, rose three days later, and then ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of His Father. It’s His sacrifice and His victory we draw strength from! Moses told God’s people, and Joshua, before they entered the promised land:

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD you God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

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What Does It Mean to Be Courageous?

a brave with his fists in the air

“The LORD is my light and my salvation - so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?” (Psalm 27:1).

Courage swaps our fear for God’s strength. “Our fears are not primarily about us, even though they feel that way,” Jon Bloom wrote for Desiring God. “They impugn God’s character and call him weak, or non-existent. They defy God and his church. 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.”

David faced fear a lot in his lifetime, from shepherd boy to king. He wrote so often of the strength he found in crying out to God, who knew Him completely and never failed to rescue him. Psalm 23 says:

“The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need” (Psalm 23:1).

The courage we need is within us, through the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit. “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. I praise God for what he has promised. I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4).

To be courageous is to trust in who God is. The depth of our courage depends on the solidity of our root system, believing the Lord is good, and trusting His plans for our lives are good. Knowing Jesus died so we could live life to the fullest. David said “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you” (1 Chronicles 28:20, NLT).

Photo credit: Unsplash/Japheth Mast

Our Courage Is Not Our Own

hands holding cross giving that cross to another pair of open hands

“’Don’t be afraid,’ he said, ‘Take courage! I am here!’” (Mark 6:50).

These words of Jesus echo in our lives, today. “’Be sure of this,’ Jesus said to His disciples, ‘I am with you always, even to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus will never leave us alone or abandon us when we are afraid. He understands human weakness because He came to earth and lived a human life. He knows the pain of heartbreak and betrayal, and because of His brutal death, he can empathize with physical pain. He meets us in our sorrow with a fresh filling of courage. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).

Life in pursuit of Christ isn’t going to be easy, but we aren’t aiming for easy, we’re looking forward to eternity. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians:

“You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi just before we came to you and how much we suffered there. Yet our God gave us the courage to declare his Good News to you boldly, in spite of great opposition” (1 Thessalonians 2:2).

The Holy Spirit is our Helper and Counselor. He infuses our lives with supernatural wisdom and courage. The apostle John wrote: “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative - that is, the Holy Spirit - he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you” (John 14:26). And so, we remain in Him, and He remains in us. John also wrote:

“And now, dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame” (1 John 2:28).

Look to God for the courage required to live each day to the fullest, to bring glory to Him, and He alone.

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10 Scriptures about Being Courageous

1 Corinthians 16:13

“So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD!” (Psalm 31:24).

“They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them” (Psalm 112:7).

“But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, ‘Don’t be afraid. Just have faith’” (Mark 5:36).

“Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself” (Philippians 1:28).

“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).

“I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10).

“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

“But Jesus spoke to them at once. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said. ‘Take courage. I am here!’” (Matthew 14:27).

Additional Resources

Halley’s Bible Handbook with the New International Version, Copyright © 2000 by Halley's Bible Handbook, Inc.

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Meg Bucher 2022 headshotMeg writes about everyday life within the love of Christ as a freelance writer, blogger at Sunny&80, and author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” and “Glory Up, The Everyday Pursuit of Praise,” and “Home, Finding Our Identity in Christ.” She earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University, but stepped out of the business world to stay at home and raise her two daughters …which led her to pursue her passion to write. Always active in her community and local church, Meg also leads Bible study for women and teen girls.