Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Be Courageous

Jesus responded, "Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!" Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. (Matthew 8:26 NIV)
I can't count the number of times that fear has held me back. I know I should reach out to this person, or speak what's on my heart to someone close to me-- but I don't. I fear their rejection, I fear judgment and most of all I fear making a mess of things. Fear keeps me from doing so many things that I know I should do. It's leaves weakness in my bones and paralysis in my soul. I often stand very still, knowing what I should do and wanting desperately to move--but I don't, and in that moment I don't think I can. It's all because I've been dwelling on Satan's lies and lost sight of the truths of my Lord and consequently, I've been weakened.  
Lately, it's in those moments that I hear, "Oh ye of little faith..."

Anyone who knows me, knows that when I speak there's a 90% chance of storms because I'm pretty good at making a mess of things. Either I will say something entirely all wrong, or the other person's belief in Satan's lies will cause some contention. There's danger in being transparent, that's why most people aren't. But the whole Christian walk is, by nature, rocky. Anytime you put yourself out there, you make yourself more vulnerable and our fleshly natures don't like to be vulnerable. It's human nature to self protect. But part of the Christian walk requires that we not walk in the flesh, and that we be courageous. His truths promise us that if we take that step out there, He has our back.
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
Isn't that worth rejoicing over? The Lord tells Joshua to be courageous many times in the book of Joshua. I strongly believe that being courageous is far more encompassing than fighting a battle. It's the way we're supposed to live our lives. 

I see so many things in myself that are the result of fear. I've never seen myself as a fearful person but lately I realize that I am. I am afraid of SO many things deep down. And those fears have held me back for far too long. I want to obey Him, but I can't even do that if I let my fears rule over everything else. It seems to me that the "little" fears can be the most dangerous fears because we don't even know they're there until they have snuck into every aspect of our lives.

I heard this song titled "Courageous" by Casting Crowns. You can view the lyrics and video here. The lyrics were too long to post but they're definitely worth reading-- and how oh-so-true the really are. The words, "We were meant to be courageous" spoke to me deep in my heart.

It's a simple choice--which do you believe, Satan's lies or God's truths? Many times, I'm forced to ask myself: Do you believe that your weaknesses are stronger than His mighty strength? Do you believe that other people's thoughts of you make you who you are? Or do you believe that He loves you no matter what and that He sees the finished you long before you ever do? He reminds me that I must combat Satan's lies with the truths of Jesus Christ.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
He doesn't judge us or "look down" at us in the way men do. He doesn't condemn every little flaw we have, nor does He go looking for reasons to bring harm to us. He loves us in such a way that we humans can only imagine. He wants the best for us, as we do for our kids. And he can handle every single one of our issues without leaving the side of anyone else.

A few days ago, while my heart was heavy, He spoke these words to my heart, "No matter what, I'm still in control."

I'm having to purposefully work to remember His truths in the midst of my storms. His truths tell me that He will walk with me and if I stub my toe He is there to hold me up and help me to press on. He will heal my wounds and make me stronger than before. The more I try, the more I honor Him and the more He blesses my heart for it. This is something you'll never know until you do it.
So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. (Acts 27:25)
His word doesn't weaken, or confuse. If we feel confused we're to focus on His written word, and know that He never changes. I'm having to learn that my brain needs retraining. I hope you'll pray for me regarding this, and I encourage you to be courageous as well. Courage is the result of intent, it's not accidental. It comes from choosing to believe the truth.

Be courageous and be who he called you to be.
Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you, so take courage and do it. (Ezra 10:4)

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