Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Virtue of Courage or Fortitude

Hello again my friends and welcome back. I am so glad you have decided to continue on this journey with me in exploring virtues. I hope you will stay with it until the end. There is much still to come that will give us great insight into the heart of God. I don't know about you, but I want to know his heart and what he calls me to do. Let’s get started.

The virtue for today is Courage or Fortitude.

Courage is also known as bravery, will or fortitude. In it we are given the ability to confront fear, risk, danger, uncertainty and intimidation.

According to Webster's dictionary the definitions are:

Courage- the attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, or painful, instead of withdrawing from it. The quality of being fearless or brave. The courage of ones convictions is doing what one thinks is right.

Fortitude - strong, the strength to bear misfortune, pain calmly and patiently; firm courage.

There is "physical courage" in facing physical pain, or threat of death, while "moral courage" is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition.

This virtue also has vices at its extremes. When we lack courage, we become cowardice and when we have excess courage we can be reckless. The coward often has a hard time standing up for what he believes. While the reckless person might do something like attack an armed robber with bare hands. To usefully exhibit courage in our life we must have good judgment and stay balanced in it. Courage is also something that is developed by doing. Acting courageously over and over will eventually become a habit for us.

If you look through the bible, there are many examples of courageous living. Let’s explore some of them.

In Joshua 2:1-9 we see the story of the harlot Rahab. Joshua had sent spies into the city of Jericho (two brave men), and the King found out about it. Rahab had heard the stories of their God and hide the two men. At nightfall she helped them escape the city walls. Why would she do such a thing? She took great risk in hiding these men. I believe she took great courage because she stepped out in great faith. She heard the stories of their God and believed.

Ezra 10:4 - Arise for this matter is your responsibility, we also are with you. Be of good courage and do it.

The prophet Ezra is weeping before the Lord for the people of Israel. After 70 years of captivity in Babylon they had returned back to the Promised Land only to pick up in sin where they had left off. The people were committing the same sin that angered God and had led them into being taken into captivity. They were taking pagan wives. As Ezra is weeping in prayer and bowing down before the house of God, he is interrupted by a large assembly of men and women weeping bitterly. They confess their sin to him and ask to make a covenant with God and put away their pagan wives.

In the verse above we see the response of Ezra, ”this is your responsibility, be of good courage and do it" In other words; obeying the Lord is our responsibility. We are to be of "good" courage (not bad - cowardice or reckless) and do it. "Just do it" as the Nike commercial would say!

King David was also the picture of fortitude and courage. He lamented to God in his circumstances often but always stood firm in his courage. In 1 Samuel 17 we read the story of David's first great courageous feat. He slays the giant Goliath with a slingshot and one stone. Smack! Right between the eyes and that big ugly giant went down.

But David wasn't alone welding that slingshot. God was with him every step of the way. Just as He was throughout David’s life. When King Saul began to hate David and persecute him, God was with him giving him courage. David was on the run for many years avoiding the persecution, being stalked by King Saul who wanted to kill him. But David took courage, not on his own, but with the strength of God.

Moses also stood in the strength of God and took courage as he stood before the Pharaoh of Egypt and spoke "Let my people go!"

Joshua took courage as he was given the job to lead Israel to the promise land. God spoke these words to Joshua as he readied himself to enter the promise land.

Joshua 1:7 - "Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go."

"ONLY" Be strong and very courageous! I assume this statement was important for him to accomplish the will of God. God is saying DO THIS! Be these things. Strong and courageous. Walk past your fear and do as I ask. I will be with you.

Deuteronomy 31:6 - "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you."

So how do we approach this as a practical application in our lives?

*First, I would say, when we feel the fear, we continue in obedience anyway. We build our faith and begin to stand on what God says not what is around us.

*We continue to obey even when we are uncertain or can't see the reasoning for what God is asking us to do.

*We fight the urge to withdraw from difficult circumstances.

*We stand on our convictions in spite of criticism or persecution.

*We remain calm and patient living by faith even in the face of trials or tragedy.

We can do these things not on our own power but by the power of God that lives within us through the Holy Spirit. We can stand on the promise above written in Deuteronomy 31:6. He goes with us. We are never alone in our battles or our fears. He will not leave us nor forsake us.

This today was a big long drink of living water. I hope you will soak it in and let it begin to give you the strength to change and become courageous.

Have a great day of the Sabbath tomorrow and come back Monday, when we dive into the virtue of Faith.

7 comments:

Farafina said...

I have to applaud your work on this blog, in a world filled with negatives news, negative comments and images. It is refreshing to see that in the midst of it all, you are working to keep God alive in people's minds and especially in yours.
This a great enterprise and I am sure it will prosper.
:) Blessings and light.

Lighthouse Prayer Line said...

Hi Sherri,

This is an awesome post!! Keep spreading the Word, sister!

If you get the opportunity, please say a prayer for the prayer requests on our main page.

You and your ministry are in my prayers!

God bless you,

Mark Seay
http://LighthousePrayerLine.org

ps - please consider following our blog or swapping links. I have 2 blue button links at the top of my sidebar. :)

valerie lynn said...

Sherri, you are indeed growing leaps and bounds in your faith and in your understanding of God and His Word. I applaud you my friend and I am so very, very, very, very proud of you!

I wish to thank you for your prayers. I love you!

Ryan said...

Sherri,

Excellent blog and a fine post.

One of the truer tests of our character is to show faith in the times of trial and tribulation. Obstacles were placed into our lives by God so that we might learn something about ourselves. Believe this and you will find the seen of equivalent benefit from every perceived setback. Show faith and always know that things will get better and they will.

Thanks for sharing your insight!

Ryan

judi lake said...

Excellent message, Miss Sherri - God is obviously using you and you touch many in this we call life - Thanks for your words of wisdom!!!
Love and hugs,
Judi

Rebekah said...

Courage is something that I don't naturally have, for sure. I have to trust God to strengthen me with it. Thank you for this!

Sherri Watt said...

All the praise and glory goes to our awesome God. He is the sustainer and the equipper.

I love Him so!!!

Hugs!