“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Jesus doesn’t compel us to be courageous in facing life’s hurdles by hollering to us from the sidelines like a competitive coach cajoling his underdog team to overcome the steep challenges confronting them in a championship game. Rather, Jesus embodied courage. He showed us exactly what it looks like by living out valiant choices continually as he made his way across the Judean hills and the shores of Galilee
For one thing, Christ woke up every single morning with the excruciating reality that the cross awaited him. He had come to die, and he knew every agonizing aspect in detail. Nothing was hidden from his view. And yet, he rose each day determined to accomplish what the Father called him to do: to love, serve, minister, teach, heal. He did not allow the heavyweight of his impending death to pin him down and drain his life away.
Immediately following his baptism, he made his way into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. That took courage. When men possessed by demonic forces charged toward him brandishing ugly threats like weapons, he hardly flinched. He confronted their evil like a warrior in steel-plated armor. His words silenced them, drove them out, caused them to flee their human habitations. Before him, no demon dared to flaunt its strength. Long before others recognized Christ’s rank, these evil spirits knew precisely who he was. They were no match for him.
We see Christ confront various horrible scenarios with the courage of a lion. His beloved cousin John was beheaded, and the sorrow did not derail him from his task. The Pharisees and religious elites belittled him, questioned his motivation, and set traps for him the way hunters attempt to ambush their prey. He stood up to them, put them in their place, was never unnerved by their badgering.
For three years or so Jesus had to live in close proximity to the one he knew would betray him. Judas was one of the twelve who became his closest companions. What amazing strength of character Christ demonstrated every single day as he allowed his betrayer to stay nearby.
This same Jesus with his heart of courage willingly offers us the same. All through his Word our Lord calls to us. Fear me. Focus on me. Seek me. Obey me. Walk with me. Abide in me. Rest in me. Let me infuse you with my brand of bravery. Allow me to pour my courage into you and through you. When I ask you to be resilient, to keep going, to not give up, to endure and to overcome, I do not do it from a far-off place.
Right where you are, is where I am.
Lord Jesus, You know exactly where we are and what we face right now. You know the fears that plague us and the strong urge simmering below the surface prompting us to flee far away and not deal with it all. But you are the courageous one who stared at the cross ahead of you and went toward it, anyway. You knew the heartache and insurmountable challenges wrapped up in conquering death and sin for us. You moved forward to give us your righteous heart, your salvation, and your courage. Help us to live today remembering you will provide the grace and strength to endure whatever is coming down our path. Please keep our eyes locked on you through it all. Amen
Elizabeth A Mitchell
Photo Credit:Bill Mitchell