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A story of a fearful girl
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was afraid of everything. At night in her bed, she worried about lions and tigers sneaking out of the woods to gobble her up in the darkness. During the day, she worried she wouldn’t have any friends to play with at school.
She only wanted to stay at home where it was safe, and play with her cat.
As she grew, she faced new fears, people, and situations. Sometimes she caved, melting into tears -shrinking from duties, and other times she kept going.
This little girl grew into a young woman who went to college, got a degree, married and had a family, went to work, and faced many more challenging situations.
But one day, she realized that fear was still her main problem, that she had always wrestled with it, and would continue for the rest of her life.
And then she knew what she must do.
She must face it head on.
A Psalm by a fearful man
Psalm 31 was written by David, and many theologians think it refers to the time he ran from Saul and hid in a cave; also quite possibly when he fled his son, Absolam, who was an ornery cuss.
Whatever the case, he had many enemies in his lifetime and experienced several occasions on the run.
David had his faults, just as all of us do, and yet, the Bible states he was
a man after God’s own heart.
David references his ups and downs in this chapter (31):
1. Trusts in God (vs. 1-2).
2. Seeks guidance from the Lord, his strength (3-5).
3. Recalls deliverance in times past (6-8).
4. Speaks of grief and trouble (9-13).
5. Affirms his trust in the Lord his God (14-18).
For God’s goodness (19)
For God’s protection (20)
For God’s kindness (21-22)
For God’s preservation (23)
7. Instructs (even after all his troubles and sighing):
“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
Replacing fear with courage
Sometimes we just think of courage as not being afraid of something. But courage is more than that.
If the opposite of courage is fear, then what exactly is courage?
In this passage, the definition of courage is: To seize, be strong, strengthen, cure, help, repair, fortify.
Does that sound like something passive to you?
That sounds like action to me.
If we aren’t to fear, we must replace it with something more powerful: courage.
Fear must be replaced by something more powerful: courage. Click To Tweet
Not just our own courage – God’s courage.
We have an awesome, powerful God at our fingertips, who waits for us to call on Him. Not for a new car, a pretty dress, or perfect kids. But for the things that matter, the characteristics He commands us to have according to the Scriptures.
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” ~ I John 5:13-15
He is ready and willing to grant our requests for spiritual traits – such as love, joy, peace, etc.
Courage is among the traits He wants us to lay hold of – it’s listed many times in the Word:
Joshua 1:9, “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.”
Deuteronomy 31:6, “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.
2 Timothy 1:7, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of POWER and love and self-control.
Moving forward with a little courage
Courage means taking action:
To be sure, take hold, be urgent, behave self valiantly, and withstand suggests the act of forging forward.
God commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous because God handed Moses’ job over to him, to go and conquer the Canaanites and possess the land for God’s people, Israel.
He had some big shoes to fill! God knew he could be a little more than intimidated just by that fact alone. But he promised to be with Joshua as he forged ahead to do God’s will. (Joshua 1, Deuteronomy 31)
Webster’s dictionary defines courage as: That quality of mind which enables one to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, or without fear.
Is there something God has been laying on your heart that you haven’t wanted to do because you’re scared? Maybe you didn’t even realize it, but if you really take the time to zero in on why you don’t want to do it, the motivating factor is in fact – fear.
The Christian life is not for cowards.
There is too much at stake, and life is too short.
We must forge on,
we must get back up,
we must do what God has not only set before us
Like dishes, diapers, kid’s basketball games, the mundane every day duties that seem so trivial yet are still so, so important.
This also means going out of our way to welcome that new person at church to make them feel at home, making friends with a soccer mom that needs the Lord, or perhaps pioneering a new trail by leading a Bible study group or having a vision for an outreach program.
Each and every one of us has a job that only we can do, and courage runs at different levels.
What might freak me out may not be a big deal to you. But that doesn’t matter.
What does matter as that we act.
So think about it. Ponder what God may be urging you to undertake. Baby steps are ok. Just as long as you’re moving forward.
You may already be in a situation that calls for an immense amount of courage. Your heart may be overwhelmed, feeling as if you’re floundering just to stay afloat. God wants to meet you where you are.
He wants to be your peace.
You take that first step, and God will be there with His strength for the rest.
I was that fearful little girl who grew up to be that fearful woman.
I have a fear problem.
Conjuring up situations in my mind that may happen, I will always deal with this. I can choose to either give in to it, or I can clothe myself with courage, and move forward.
It’s a daily challenge, but I will not give up, because I have God’s strength on my side. I have determined to think on “Whatsoever things are true” (Philippians 4:8), and “cast down imaginations” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
God has done some amazing things in my life when I’ve given over my fears to Him and let Him work His courage.
How about you? Are you ready to be courageous for God? Let’s be bold, forge ahead, and gain ground. Let’s claim the promise – “He shall strengthen your heart”!
“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24
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