Christian heroes are often identified by their courageous actions. Sometimes the event is personal and limited to minor sacrifices and small spiritual gains. Sometimes the heroic act involves a significant personal cost: Bearing the shame of wicked people, expressing unrequited love, enduring infinite suffering, perhaps even dieing in place of others expresses the maximum of Christian courage..
But is the character of a Christian hero actually confined to descriptions of personal suffering? Perhaps it touches more on decisive choices that are based upon faith, hope and trust. Many dictionaries declare that “heroism is defined by fearless actions.” However, some experts define “heroism as action in spite of fear.”
I concur with the second definition.
Heroes do not reside in some favored land of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual fearlessness. They endure not by being without fear but rather by conquering fear.
Heroism Narrowed Down to Courage
Every individual is unique in his or her ability to tolerate pain, endure heartache or face fear. For some individuals, the fear of physical contact with other human beings is so great that they cannot force themselves to venture into the outside world. Others have a great fear of slithering reptiles. Some fear failure. And there exist within each group multiple sub-levels of fear.
Heroism is little more than the courage to face fear. For some people, heroism is a daily struggle to rise up and face a new morning. For others, their personal fears are so distant as to yet be unchallenged.
Christian Courage: An Abundance of Faith That Overcomes Fear
In the first chapter in the book of Joshua, the Lord gave commandment that this leader should be of “good courage.” Using bold text to highlight my point, I present the verses as follows:
“6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.
8. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
9 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.”
Among many points that can be made concerning these passages, here are a few of the primary truths:
- Fear is real
- Victory in life demands that we control our fears
- Courage is not the absences of fear, but rather courage takes authority over fear
- Faith is confidence in God and His promises
- Faith is a necessary component of Christian courage
- Meditating, living and breathing the Word of God brings forth faith
- Heroes of Christianity must believe that God will fight their battles for them.
Perhaps you feel that faith eliminates fear. This is a false understanding. Faith does not eliminate fear; it conquers fear. Dread, sorrow, anguish: these all swell forth out of fear. We fear loss. We fear hurt. We fear shame. We fear failure. We fear the cost of victory. Read here the words from Matthew, chapter 26 as I close with the greatest example of what it means to conquer fear:
“36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”
Faith One Day At a Time
I can’t tell you how to be a hero, but that isn’t really the goal is it? I can tell how to build courage. Just:
- · Pray
· Meditate in the Word of God day and night
· Believe God, one day at a time
· Be strong and of good courage.