When we talk about the aspects of the Christian life we frequently mention qualities such as spiritual gifts and the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, patience, to name a few, are all valuable traits to a godly life.
There is one character quality that is not listed in these groups and it doesn’t get much play, especially in the New Testament. However, I would contend that it is called for now more than ever. That is courage.
The word “courage” is only mentioned twice in the New Testament (NKJV) but in the Old Testament is where it really shines. Moses was particularly fond of the word and used it often. Usually as a means to encourage leaders, especially Joshua. And after the death of Moses, Joshua went right to it in addressing the people. One such example is found in Joshua 1:7, “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.”
One commentator likened strength and courage to faith and confidence. One form of courage, then, is an unshakable belief in the promises of God, that He will never leave you nor forsake you. With God on your side, where can you not go and what can you not do? When Israel finally entered the promised land, were the giants of Numbers 13 still there? Of course they were. With God on their side were the giants a problem for Israel. Of course they weren’t. When Paul was headed to trial in Rome before the emperor himself, we read in Acts 16 that believers from Rome came out to meet him at the Appi Forum and Three Inns. The church in Rome was already starting to face persecution. Paul saw the courage of these believes and the verse says, “When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.”
An American politician, Jim Hightower, said, “The opposite for courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.” With COVID and lockdowns, mandates and rapidly changing social mores, courage in the ministry is called for like it has not been in a long time. Going with the flow may not work the way it used to. Perhaps it’s time to step out against the flow of human tradition and into the flow of God’s plans. As Joshua said, “That you may prosper wherever you go.”