Monday, January 2, 2012

Courage: Deuteronomy 31:8

"And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed" (Deut 31:8 NKJV).

Some of my favorite movies have knights in them, or men (and women!) who resemble knights—The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Ella Enchanted, Ever After, and Alice in Wonderland (2010). There’s something about heroic tales that capture the heart. These stories usually have a villain, a hero, and a mission to accomplish. A band of unlikely friends unite in the Lord of the Rings to destroy evil and save Middle-earth. The children of “modern” England travel in space and time to Narnia, to defeat a wicked queen and take their rightful places as rulers of the land. Spunky girls in Ella Enchanted, Ever After, and Alice in Wonderland find who they truly are and have the courage to either save their prince or defeat formidable enemies. Honor is something to be lived out and exemplified, and courage makes ordinary people heroes.

Courage isn’t just for fictional characters; we need it, too. Courage doesn’t withdraw from danger; it faces it and moves ahead as God directs. In real life, we encounter many foes—Satan and his forces, the flesh, fear, anger, and worry. But God calls us to be His warriors, to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12 NKJV). Courage is a great ally in fighting life’s spiritual battles and in accomplishing God’s will for our lives. Fear, however, is an enemy that keeps us from fulfilling God’s mission. Fear of the unknown is a great hindrance to stepping out in faith and following God’s path. We don’t know whether we’ll have a happy ending or what kind of “gremlins” and “monsters” we may meet. But nothing is unknown to God. He sees all, and He knows all.

If we are uncertain and afraid of how a certain situation will turn out, we can be assured that God is already there. “He goes before you” as Deuteronomy 31:8 (NKJV) says. He knows what it will take to do His will, to accomplish the mission, or to win the victory over the enemy. He has already given us all we need in Christ. Because we have God with us, our Immanuel, we don’t have to be afraid of the unknown or afraid that we can’t do what we need to. God goes before us, He sees the happy ending, and He bolsters our courage, so that we walk in victory and not fear.

What are you hoping to accomplish in the new year? What do you think God is calling you to do? Take heart that God is with you. He already sees the future and what’s possible when we depend on Him to do great things. Have courage, and stay close to Him! He writes the best endings.

This is the first post in a new series of some of my favorite verses. Each verse deals with a particular subject, something that helps us in the daily Christian life. Each post will end with extra verses about the subject. Some you may already know, and some may be new treasures waiting to be discovered. I hope that these verses encourage you in your walk with God.

Other verses that bolster courage: Joshua 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:7; Proverbs 3:25-26; Isaiah 44:8; Psalm 27:1,14; 1 Corinthians 16:13

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