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“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”
~ ~ Nelson Mandela
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Colorado
We all have fears and while fear can be beneficial, warning us of danger, negative fear can cause serious damage to our bodies, soul and spirit. The very thing we fear may just decide to pay us a visit. Stress resulting from worry wreaks havoc on our bodies and mind.
Paul tells us in Romans 8:37 that we are more than conquers, we know we have victory but we can’t run from what scares us. We must not fear. God didn’t give us a spirit of fear but a calm well balance mind and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). When trouble comes we have the ability to remain stable without worry knowing all the while God will deliver us.
Fear brings torment. The Holy Spirit won’t put us in bondage or fear. That comes from the enemy. God won’t remove the issues we fear but he will give us the strength to live our lives and confront our fears. Where the spirit of God is there is liberty. We must not be in bondage to anything.
Difficulties are often the best thing for us because in the end they bring us closer to God. He will give us strength to go through whatever life presents us. Other times when we choose to continue doing the “stupid stuff” God stands back and permits us experience our problems and fears until we decide to give them to him.
So how do we combat fear?
We have to CONFRONT fear to get rid of it…do it afraid. We need the courage to confront our fears and not run from them. Rely on God to help you stop the strongholds that keep you from doing God’s will.
An important biblical concept is dwelling in PEACE. No peace, no power. We can’t defeat the enemy without it. We have nothing if we don’t have peace.
It’s not what’s on the outside that is important, it’s what on the inside we need to me mindful of. Be careful about THOUGHTS and the words of your mouth. Get in agreement with God’s word. Two can’t walk together unless they agree.
PRAY every morning before getting out of bed, pausing, THANKING and expecting good things. Romans 8.28 – everything comes back to this verse; all things work together for good for those who love God according to his purpose. Form a habit of BELIEVING good things will happen and stop looking for the bad. Whatever we look for we’ll find.
Remember, even in times of trouble we must trust God to make something good out of it. We can still have a positive outlook in a negative situation knowing God has good plan. When something negative happens in our lives we only help the enemy when we fear.
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for well-being and not for trouble, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
Next week: A Determined Attitude
|Winston Churchill||“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”|
|Nora Ephron||“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”|
|Maya Angelou||“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”|
|I.Selim ( Sultan of the Ottoman Empire )||Courage leads to victory, indecision leads to danger and cowardice leads to death. (Contributed by: yabakientelbaki)|
|Mark Twain||“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”|
|Victor Hugo||“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”|
|Joyce Meyer||“Courage is fear that has said its prayers and decided to go forward anyway.”|
|Christopher Paolini||“Keep in mind that many people have died for their beliefs; it’s actually quite common. The real courage is in living and suffering for what you believe.”|
|Veronica Roth||“No matter how long you train someone to be brave, you never know if they are or not until something real happens.”|
|Ernest Hemingway||“Courage is grace under pressure.”|
|Carrie Jones||“The secret of happiness is freedom, the secret of freedom is courage.”|
|Lao Tzu||“A man with outward courage dares to die; a man with inner courage dares to live.”|
|Christopher Paolini||“Without fear there cannot be courage.”|
|Nelson Mandela||“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”|
If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31
Imagine yourself as actually looking at all your difficulties like an army lined up against you. Then realize you have a backing that can overcome them all. As you face these enemies of yours—discouragement, frustration, disappointment, hostility, weakness—ask yourself, “What shall I say to these things?” And the answer is, If God be for us, who can be against us?” Now, spend a minute realizing that God is for you and say this affirmation: “God is with me. God is for me. God is greater than all these things.” Then visualize these enemies of your peace and happiness as retreating, giving way before God’s power. Personalize the text by saying: “If God be for me, who can be against me?” The repetitive use of this text will give you an enormous sense of God’s presence and a powerful feeling of victory.
From Thought Conditioners by Norman Vincent Peale
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9 (NIV)
Be strong and courageous. How do we do that? Obey and mediate on God’s word; make it part of you. We will have circumstances that challenge our strength and courage but we will overcome because God is with us.
Tips to finding courage
- Realize your own limitations so you can depend on God. Find your hope in Him
- Meditate on God’s word. Find and memorize scripture that deals with your particular problem, i.e. fear, people pleasing, etc.
- Break out of your comfort zone. The more you practice trying new things the more you will build confidence, courage and trust in God.
- Deal with your failures. When you realize they don’t define you then you can step out with courage.
- Realize your strength comes from God and he is stronger than any enemy
- Recall those times that God helped you in the past.
- Look to others, contemporary and in the bible. Learn how they handled difficult situations.
- PRAY! Ask God for courage and strength. “As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.” (Psalm 138:3)
Attitude Challenge – meditate on these questions this week:
- What prevents me from acting in an attitude of courage? Stress, uncertainty, fear, opinions of others.
- How does lack of courage affect our relationships especially with god, family, or friends?
- What helps you find courage when faced with something new or uncomfortable?
- How would your life improve if you demonstrated more courage?
Books on courage:
Forgotten Girls: Stories of Hope and Courage by Kay Strom, Michele Rickett
Just Courage: God’s Great Expedition for the Restless Christian by Gary A Haugen
Courage and Calling: Embracing Your God-Given Potential by Gordon T Smith
Bible verses on courage
|2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)||For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.|
|Joshua 1:9 (ESV)||Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”|
|Psalm 31:24 (ESV)||Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!|
|Psalm 56:3-4 (NIV)||When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?|
|Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)||Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”|
|1 Chronicles 28:20 (NLT)||Then David continued, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the Temple of the Lord is finished correctly.|
|Philippians 4:13 (NLT)||For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.|
|Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)||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.|
|1 Corinthians 16:13 (NLT)||Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.|
|Psalm 28:7 (NLT)||The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.|
|Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)||For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.|
|Psalm 9:10 (NLT)||Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.|
|Psalm 27:14 (NLT)||Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.|
The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.
But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.
The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.
But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.
There have been times where I have needed to find courage deep within. The strength to go on alone when my husband left me with two 13-month olds; when my parents died; when I left my comfort zone to travel across the US, living in a minivan for two years; the courage to give up that life for one with less freedom but with more long-term rewards. Nothing great can happen without courage and God can’t use someone who doesn’t have the courage to get out of the boat. If you fear do as Joyce says “do it afraid”.
Find courage in remembering the past
But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:34-37 (NIV)
When life comes against you remember as David did: the lion and bear, those times when God brought you through and you will have courage as David did to go against your giants.
God shows up in our courage
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18 (NIV)
Courage comes from believing in the power of God over our circumstances. God will deliver.
Find courage in the examples of others
The bible is full of examples of courage. Abraham had the courage to leave his home and travel to a land only God knew. Paul had the courage to turn his back on everything he knew to follow Jesus and work with those who he had persecuted. Peter had the courage to leave his past behind, his denial of Jesus, to go on to be a leader to the new Christians. Tamar had the courage to trick her father-in-law to get pregnant; risking her life to get what was promised her. Rahab had the courage to betray her people to help the Israel overtake her city. Joshua found the courage to lead his people after Moses died. And the ultimate act of courage, to go to a cross to die a horrible death for us, in doing so Jesus reunited us with our true family and our true father. The list goes on and on and on and on and…
How does our heart grow in courage?
Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7 that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power. We have the strength to face whatever situation we’re given. We need to step out and use it. Courage is like a muscle, it gets stronger with use. God gives us the courage to overcome if we step out and use it.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 NIV).
Often fear keeps us from stepping out in courage: fear of failure, fear of what others think, fear of hard work, fear of the unknown. Courage requires that we step out in faith and trust Jesus will be there to lead us. God promises to give us what we need to do his will, even courage. (Joshua 1:9)
Give us courage to change what we can
Contentment in what we can’t
And the common sense to know the difference
A Prayer for Courage
Lord, helm me to have courage to do whatever I need to do to fulfill your will and bring you glory.
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Links to other Attitudes in this series
Introduction to Attitudes