The American Heritage Dictionary defines courage as: “The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery.”
You can probably see a resemblance to the Latin cor, for heart.
Notice that courage could come from self-reliance or pride rather than from remembering our God. It might be a helpful distinction when discussing secular appearances of courage. In one case, courage could be idolatry, although courage might be also be a result of confidence in one’s armor, or one’s commander, or one’s platoon. I’m thinking as a military wife now, but I cannot write these words without also thinking of the biblical analogies of war.
Notice also that courage is defined in relationship to fear, but not the absence of it. I suspect the confusion comes when courage is so strong that it appears fearless. My dad is facing a terminal illness, short of an organ transplant. When you talk to my mom and dad, they don’t sound afraid. It’s not that they lack feeling; they simply have developed a strong sense of trusting God and His providence in their lives. That might be a good illustration to tell David.
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10
As Pastor Younts said yesterday,
We are weak by nature. This weakness naturally leads to fear and worry. However, the Scripture tells us that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. II Cor. 12:9 It takes courage to recognize that we are weak but that we can trust God to give us the strength we need to follow him. With this mindset we don’t have to be defensive about weakness. This is a powerful lesson for children to learn. Perhaps even some adults could learn from this truth as well.
Yes, these are Scriptures for me, too! I’ll be thinking on them today.