Most of my life I have not lived brave, but I have wanted to.
As I read the above words penned by Angela Thomas, they resonated deeply within my heart. For as much as I wish I were courageous, I’m not nearly as bold as I would like to be. As much as I desire to run headlong into the battle with sword at the ready, the truth is I allow any number of things to make me hesitate. Things like insecurities, fears, distractions, labels, interruptions, responsibilities, expectations, deception, duty, disobedience, excuses, lack of self-control, the common, the ordinary, and the overall feeling of somehow being less than.
Less than what I would like to be.
Less than the courageous daughter whom God calls me to be.
And as I lean into the lies, the chains slip silently into place, subtly wrapping about my wrists and ankles until I am held captive and immobile in the face of fear. Caught in the very web Satan has woven about me with words that make me question the truth.
Because living brave begins with Truth.
Interestingly enough, according to the Bible, the truth is that bravery is not an option.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid nor be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9, emphasis mine)
Perhaps courage is not an option simply because God knows that without it, we would fail to implement any other spiritual practices. It takes courage to be in the world yet not assimilated to it. It takes courage to love your enemies and to pray for the very ones who persecute you. It takes courage to fear not. It takes courage to love one another at all times. It takes courage to walk away from the known and familiar and venture into a new way.
Make no mistake about it, a life of faith is not for the faint of heart. Nor is it for those who think they stand in their own strength. For God calls us to rise up and be strong in good courage. And if there is such a thing as good courage, that makes me wonder if there is not such a thing as bad courage.
The longer I thought on it, the more I became convinced that not all men of courage are men of good courage. Some run toward danger because they care not for life, while men of good courage run toward danger to preserve life. Their love overcomes their fear as they rise to the challenge again and again, battle after battle, because they believe love is worth the risk. This is the goodness of courage at its finest.
This is the goodness of courage that comes from being strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. This is the courage that it takes to believe God will overcome every obstacle in my life and raise me to walk boldly before the throne of grace because of HIS goodness, and not at all because of my own.
Good courage begins and ends with truth.
And if I believe that a person who follows hard after God can become brave, then I must believe that I can be that person. I must believe that His Spirit will turn the tide of deceptive words meant for my demise into a wave of victorious truth, freeing me to walk in courage as He wills. And as I believe, I step into truth. A truth that exchanges those lies – word by word – and allows God to rename me. Bold. Intrepid. Daring. Dauntless. Valiant. Fearless. Noble. Confident. Steadfast. Resolute. Secure. Adventurous. Overcomer. Courageous.
Brave enough to turn the “I want to” into an “I will.”
Brave enough to be free.
Brave enough to be fully me in Christ.
Brave enough to live this day in good courage – with sword held at the ready.