David had just moved and was attending a new school. As he sat in the bleachers watching a soccer game two students came over and sat beside him. Without saying a word one reached into his pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. He took one out and offered the pack to David. David shook his head.
“Don’t tell me you’re a Mama’s boy” the one sneered.
“No,” David answered. “I just want to keep breathing.”
“I’ve been watching you,” the guy smirked. “You’re one of those holy Christians, right?
David breathed deeply. It was clear that these boys did not think highly of Christians. If he should speak for Jesus now, they would make fun of him and possibly kill his chances of making new friends. He needed courage and he needed it now!
What is courage? Joshua was appointed by God to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land after the death of Moses. It was a huge responsibility that required wisdom, patience, and leadership because they would have to fight against kingdoms that had walled cities and more weapons. Of course Joshua was not sure that he could do a good job. God sent him this message:
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6, NKJ). Courage in this story means facing difficult situations instead of running away. It means trusting in God to do what He says He will do.
Does God expect me to be courageous? It’s in the Bible, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13, NIV).
Can God give me courage to speak for Him? Yes. The Apostle Paul was beaten and thrown into prison for preaching about Jesus, but it didn’t stop him from doing it again. He wrote, “You know how badly we had been treated at Philippi just before we came to you and how much we suffered there. Yet God gave us the courage to boldly repeat the same message to you, even though we were surrounded by enemies” (1 Thessalonians 2:2, TLB). Having courage does not mean that you will never be afraid. It means that you will trust in God that whatever happens will be for His glory, and so you do it anyway. He gives you the strength to face whatever you have to face. Sometimes courage is doing what you think is the right thing to do even though others may not agree.
Why is courage important? Everyone, young and old, will face difficult things in life. It may be giving an oral report at school or facing bullies in your neighborhood. There are also dangerous things happening on earth now with our weather, such as tornadoes or earthquakes. Jesus warned us that these things would happen because He didn’t want us to be surprised or shocked. He said, “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe” (John 14:29, NKJ). Because Jesus told us these things would happen, we can trust that he will be with us. He said, “Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me” (John 14:1, NIV).
I can have courage to face God when he comes because I trust in His promises that He will save me. It’s in the Bible “He has given us both his promise and his oath, two things we can completely count on, for it is impossible for God to tell a lie. Now all those who flee to him to save them can take new courage when they hear such assurances from God; now they can know without doubt that he will give them the salvation he has promised them” (Hebrews 6:18, TLB).