Courage

cour·age
ˈkərij/
noun
  1. the ability to do something that frightens one.
    “she called on all her courage to face the ordeal”
synonyms: bravery, courageousness, pluck, pluckiness, valor, fearlessness…

 

We are in a season full of dreaming and pressing into the dreams God has placed in us.  A God dream is a big dream that only He can help accomplish.  These are lofty and can seem impossible.  They put fear in people and it takes a lot of courage to reach these dreams.  Courage, along with its synonyms, have been widely used by many in western culture today.  There has even been a film named Courageous.  I love this film, and it is Christian based with a very good message.  Songs are being written and sung about us, Christians, being brave and having no fear as sons and daughters of God.

Why would God want us to hear the word “courageous?”

As a good rule of thumb, I use the Bible as my plumb line.  This keeps me in line with His heart.  Anytime I operate in the prophetic gifting or receive prophetic revelation, I use the Bible as my filter.  In the past, I would have just said anything or believed anything that had “Thus saith the Lord…” attached to it.  As I have grown in this journey, I have found by using this filter the prophetic gifting will not be used in an abusive way.  The goal or desired end result of this gift is always love.

Joshua:  Moses is handing over the reigns to Joshua.  He is the one that will lead God’s people to the promise land.  It is interesting that Joshua is told not to fear and be courageous 3 times in this passage.  I have seen that if anything is said 3 times in scripture, PAY ATTENTION!!!  I can assure you that Joshua paid attention to these two words as he led the people into the promised land.
Deuteronomy 31:6-8
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.” 
7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. 
8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Joshua had to keep these words close to his heart in order to conquer the tasks ahead of both possessing the promised land and then settling/dividing the promised land.  This dream is from God and as we saw from the time in the wilderness, only God can accomplish this.
There are countless other stories in the Bible that demand for men and women to have courage to accomplish the things of God.  David, Daniel, Gideon, Abigail, Esther, Mary, the apostles and beyond.  It almost seems the entire Bible is a story about courage.
To take something you believe and then take the step in faith to walk it out does take courage.
The thing I like about the story of Joshua is that some in this generation were sick of not having what God had promised.  God likes to use the unsatisfied or  a.k.a. the hungry!
I believe people are hungry today.  Unsatisfied with not walking in the promise of God.  What promise is this?  The promise of Holy Spirit.  Having the Living God making His home inside of me to lead me in every step I take.
My definition of Courage:  for me to submit everything to God for His leadership without reservation or doubt
I believe it takes courage to hear God speak and act in faith.  I believe this is the piece of adventure that our culture today is crying out for.  This is the courage that God is shouting about through the arts and the prophets.  Time and time again Jesus told His disciples to not be afraid.  Jesus walked this earth and invited courageous behavior from His closest friends.  This was how He taught those learning from Him.  He desired to see His disciples to try things out for themselves.  He is the perfect Leader and we need to learn to lead from Him!  The disciples walked with Jesus who lead them in this way.  Jesus knew they needed Holy Spirit to guide them and is the reason He told them to wait in the upper room until He came.  Jesus imitated the Father on earth with them.  Holy Spirit led them in the same way, as He heard the Father.  This should testify to us today that these men needed Holy Spirit to lead them and His leadership was the same as Jesus’s leadership over them.  We need Holy Spirit to lead our every step and we need courage to do this!
In this picture of courage it speaks of fighting, failing, and then rising again to fight.  I want to encourage everybody that in growth we will fail.  It takes humility to walk with Holy Spirit.  He will tell you something for a person and it may be completely wrong.  Maybe you make a wrong turn or go through a wrong door.  There is a lie in pride that tells you that failure is not an option.  I want to expose this lie and let you know that failure will happen and that God is there with you to help pick you up.  I can testify to this in my own life.  I have failed countless times with hearing Him.  As I have learned to walk humbly, I have known Him to be faithful in always picking up the pieces and making them into something beautiful.  He will take these wrong things and make them right.  I recently heard Heidi Baker talk about how learning to follow His voice is very similar to learning a new language.  You will have both success and failure, but the more you work at it the more fluent you get in that language.  Remove from your mind the fear of failure.  Failure is not something we are to fear.  It is something to be embraced in humility, so we can be used by God and for His purposes.  It is also in this fear of failing that the fruit of being stagnant manifests.  Jesus always encouraged those following Him to keep growing and Holy Spirit does as well.  I have known many people who have been hurt by a religious spirit that will grab onto the fear of failure and disguise it one way or another.  The most common disguise I have seen is obvious and says, “I am not going to do that because I do not want to be religious.”  They fear being religious so much they will not try anything but being anti-religious.  This is sad because it prevents the growth of the person in love for Jesus, themselves, and others.  This is another reason courage is in great need.  Like Jesus and the disciples, we have to keep moving towards Jesus and not get stuck.
Another common fear in our culture is the fear of man.  What will they think of me?  Will they accept me?  I have seen that one of the fruits of the fear of man is having the idea that I have God on my terms.  Maybe it is only a Sunday and Wednesday relationship or some could even add 30 minutes in daily devotionals.  The rest of my time is my time spent for my needs.  I also see where religion is formed in this fear.  This has been a struggle for me. It began in my youth and has grown.  As I have received healing over the last decade, I have been able to overcome this fear.  It is paralyzing for sure.  Most people like to be accepted by others.  If you are not, one option is to change.  This is not how you were created and as I learned, you begin to “act” just to be accepted.  This is not a fun place to be and I can’t think of a person that has been through this that has not picked up other bad habits while living this fake life.  It did not take me long to figure out I could not live like this much longer.  The damage was done and I had picked up habits that were not good for me that I would carry with me until I received healing in this area.  I then was able to grow in hearing Holy Spirit lead me and not fear what others thought.  I still get scared sometimes and that is why I know that it takes courage to have God on His terms.
I choose what I do.  I choose to listen or not to listen.  I choose to act or not to act.  I do know that listening to His voice and then taking the action towards that word takes courage.  This is why I believe the Body in this culture longs and desires for courage.  This is why God keeps speaking have courage and all its synonyms.  I choose to trust His leadership and actively pursuing this language of love.  I see this as a great adventure and is exciting to me.
 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.  1 Corinthians 16:13

 

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