- ABOUT US
- Calendar and News
- READING PLAN
- The Chosen
A Christian’s Heart
“A Courage-Filled Heart”
Watch on YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZzNn1r0XVE
A heart filled with courage possess those qualities that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, disappointment, despair, death, and whatever else life throws at them.
We could say that courage is putting our faith in action. To have courage is to act in accordance with our beliefs. If we say we believe in something we should be able to stand for that belief no matter what comes at us.
So, I think it’s safe to say we all need courage to face the future. We need courage so that we’re not debilitated by fear and paralyzed by anxiety, where we cave in and compromise our convictions due to difficult circumstances.
The Apostle Paul said that God has not given us a spirit of fear, instead He’s given to us a mind that is sound, a heart that is filled with love, and a power to face our fears (2 Timothy 1:7).
And when I’m talking about courage, I’m not talking about superhero stuff, but rather courage to face life’s everyday challenges. It’s these choices that show if we’re courageous or cowards. It’s choosing between what is right and what is convenient. It’s choosing our convictions over comfort.
The short version is that it takes courage to be a Christian. It takes courage to obey God.
Unfortunately, many believers come up short of the courage needed because they’re content with where they are, or they want what they want the way the want it, and thus never entering or enjoying the fullness of their inheritance as children of God.
It was such an act of courage and belief that saw the Apostle Peter boldly stand in defense of the faith before the rulers and elders of Israel.
After healing the crippled man at the gate called beautiful, Peter said,
“Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10-12 NKJV)
Now, remember this is Peter who ran away from these same authorities when Jesus was being arrested, and who denied even knowing Jesus for fear of his life. But now he’s standing in front of the very same men who filled him with such fear earlier.
Too many of us don’t believe we can be courage-filled Christians like Peter, or like those men and women of faith we read about in the Bible or in biographies of the church during difficult times and those times of reformation and revival.
Many believers see themselves more like Joshua and the way he felt at first, as the people were now ready to leave the wilderness behind and enter God’s Promise Land.
Several times the Lord had to say to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous.” It would seem the Lord was seeing a fear within Joshua.
In Joshua 1:9 The Lord said, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NKJV)
Could it have been that Joshua felt weak and incapable of this task? Could it have been that Joshua needed the strength and assurance to stand and take hold of God’s promises? Could this be the reason why God had to encourage him to fulfill his purpose and calling?
There’s a lot to be learned from Joshua’s life and God’s conversation with him that speaks to this topic of what a courage-filled heart looks like.
Winston Churchill said, “Without courage all other virtues lose their meaning.” (Winston Churchill)
Two young boys went to see the dentist. The first boy said, “Doc, will you pull a tooth right now? Don’t need no gas or Novocain, just yank it out.”
The Dentist said, “Sure, now that’s what I call being a brave and courageous lad. Now, which tooth do you want pulled?”
The boy then turned to his friend and said, “Come on Jimmy, show the Doc your tooth.”
Martin Luther King Jr. rightly assessed courage saying, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
And so, let’s take a look at these qualities of a courageous heart. The first quality we see from the life of Joshua is that a courage-filled heart is a faithful heart.
1. A Faithful Heart
Joshua was a faithful servant
“After the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’s assistant.” (Joshua 1:1 NKJV)
Joshua realized long before this that God had called him to be Moses’s assistant. That was it, and Joshua was okay with that. Joshua was faithful to what God called him to be.
For 40 years Joshua faithfully served and never once did he rebel against God’s placement and anointing as an assistant, as a servant. He never grumbled or complained about the hardships or what he thought Moses was doing wrong. Rather, Joshua served faithfully behind the scenes. This is the type of person God uses.
Speaking on the topic of which instrument was the hardest to play, celebrated composer and conductor, Leonard Bernstein, said, “I can always get plenty of first violinists, but to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm, now that’s a problem. And yet if no one plays second, we have no harmony.”
For Moses to fulfill God’s calling, Joshua needed to be a faithful assistant.
A courage-filled heart is therefore a faithful heart, because when we are faithful to God’s calling then there will be harmony in the church and in God’s kingdom here on earth.
God is looking for faithfulness on our part.
In the Parable of the Talents Jesus said that the Lord would reward those servants who faithfully handle what He’s so graciously given. Look at what He said and what we want to hear Him saying to us in the end.
“Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” (Matthew 25:21 NKJV)
We therefore need to be faithful in whatever God’s calling may be.
God gave strength to Joshua to possess the Promise Land because Joshua was a faithful servant, and God will do the same for us as we are faithful servants as well.
And so, the first quality we see is that a courage-filled heart is a faithful heart.
The next quality of a courage-filled heart we see from Joshua’s life is that a courage-filled heart is a word-filled heart.
2. A Word-Filled Heart
We live in a microwavable world. We want everything quick. But there is no microwavable holiness. We can’t go to a drive-up window at church and get an order of holiness to go. There’s no special formula or 12-step program to holiness. Holiness comes from time spent with God and in His word.
To have a heart of courage Joshua needed to have his heart filled with God’s word.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.” (Joshua 1:8 NKJV)
In this verse, the Lord tells Joshua that to have a word-filled heart three things were needed.
a. Knowledge of God’s Word
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth”
To be able to speak God’s word we first must know it.
Jesus was able to effectively thwart Satan’s temptations because He knew the Word. Jesus understood the Word and therefore was able to use it effectively as a weapon against Satan.
This is at the heart of the Psalmist recommendation.
“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11 NKJV)
This was also the Apostle Paul’s recommendation to Timothy.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV)
We need to constantly be in God’s word, ever learning what it says if we want to live effective and courageous lives.
The second thing we see in this verse on how to have a word-filled heart is of our need to meditate on God’s Word.
b. Meditate on God’s Word
“You shall meditate in it day and night”
To meditate on God’s word means to ponder it, that is, to turn it over and over in our hearts and in our minds. Whenever I think about this idea of meditation and pondering God’s word, an analogy that would be well known to most, especially back then would be to chew on God’s word the way a cow chews upon its cud.
This is what Mary did when she was told that she would give birth to the Messiah, the Son of God.
“But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19 NKJV)
Mary continued to turn it over in her mind; she continued to chew on it.
When we ponder, that is, when we meditate upon God’s word that’s when we firmly entrench His word in our lives. It involves hiding God’s word deep within our heart so that we don’t sin against Him (Psalm 119:11).
What’s interesting about this Hebrew word “meditate,” is that not only does it mean to go over a matter in our minds, but also it means that we go around muttering it.
And so, to Joshua and to us the Lord is confirming that there is a direct connection between the mind, the heart, and our mouth.
And finally, the last thing we see in having a word-filled heart from our verse is of our need to now apply God’s word to our lives.
c. Application of God’s Word
“That you may observe to do according to all that is written in it”
We need to obey and apply God’s word to our lives.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22 NKJV)
This is the same thing that the prophet Samuel told King Saul when he transgressed the commandments by offering a sacrifice to God.
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22 NKJV)
We could say it like this; that either we start getting interactive with God’s word, or God’s word will start getting interactive with us.
If we want to enter into the promises of God, then we need to start obeying and applying God’s word in our lives.
And so, a courage-filled heart is a heart that is faithful and filled with God’s word. And finally, a courage-filled heart is a trusting heart.
3. A Trusting Heart
“Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.” (Joshua 1:6 NKJV)
Joshua’s courage hinged upon his trusting God at His word.
God is faithful and will faithfully keep His promises. In verse three He said, “As I said to Moses,” and again in our passage, “I swore to their fathers to give them.” Joshua trusted that if God said it then He’ll perform it.
It was such a trusting and courage-filled heart that three young men possessed in the middle of a godless society. Their names were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
The King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, built a large golden statue of himself and commanded everyone to bow down to it. And when the music played everyone bowed, that is, with the exception of these three young men.
When questioned and then threatened with death by fire they responded with courageous hearts, trusting God more than Nebuchadnezzar’s threats.
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18 NKJV)
Nebuchadnezzar was furious and ordered the furnace heated up seven times hotter and threw these three young men inside. But when he looked into the furnace expecting to see three burnt bodies, he saw four men standing, and the fourth looked like the Son of God.
In other words, Jesus Himself was in the fire with them because they trusted God and His word.
God told to the Israelites, “When you go out to battle against your enemies…do not be afraid of them…for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” (Deuteronomy 20:1-4 NKJV)
If our trust is in God, no matter what the circumstances may be, then God will give us supernatural courage to face and overcome them.
Today, however, many find compromise more to their liking. What’s happened is their courage has left them and their strength has been taken away, much like Sampson’s hair.
Our mission here at Living Waters Fellowship is to make a difference in our community and world for Jesus Christ, and it takes courage to make a difference.
There’s a war going on, an interior war, a war for our souls. It’s a war between our flesh, which is our sinful wants and desires, and the Spirit.
The Apostle Paul talks about this war saying, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” (Galatians 5:16-17 NKJV)
To fight this battle, we need to have courage-filled hearts, and to have a courage-filled hearts we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
To His disciples Jesus said, “When they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:11-12 NKJV)
When we become shaken by the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, then we’ll become unshaken in our stand for God.
With a faithful, word-filled, and trusting heart firmly established within us, then we can grow a courage-filled heart.
When talking about courage, an unusual verse came to me this week, one not associated with courage, but one that speaks of the courage we need to trust in the Lord and how we go about doing it.
In Psalm 27:13-14, King David said, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:13-14 NKJV)
What was brought to my attention is what one old and wise counselor said when dealing with people going through times of trouble and difficulty. And that is, we must remind them that “God is good. AND God is sovereign.”
David understood that. In Psalm 27, David opens about what it means to have great fear in life while still trusting in those two main truths.
In verse 3 he said, “Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear,” and in verse 5 he continues that theme with this ending, “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.”
Even if war and shear hell break loose, David simply refuses to fear, as he reminds himself, as well as us, that God will keep him safe; that his eternal life is secure; that no one or no thing can ever thwart God and His purposes.
When we look at the headlines of our world today, or the headlines of our life, these can make us question these two truths that God is good, and God is sovereign.
We have mass shootings, an economy that’s teetering on the brink of disaster, war in Eastern Europe, famine in Africa, medical, relational, and political strife, along with division in the land, and even in the church. All these things push against those two truths.
But we can be confident, we can have courage-filled hearts knowing that Jesus holds all things together, like John said that all things were created by Him, and how it is by Him that all things were created for Him.
We can be confident and courageous knowing that Jesus holds it all together, the universe and all that is within it, and that He can show us the “land of the living” in the chaos of our lives. We can, therefore, take courage and be confident that when we cry out to Him He will hear us.
We can possess these courage-filled hearts by being completely confident that God hears our voice when we call. Wait for Him, David says, and be courageous. Dig down to that rock of our salvation, the Rock who is Jesus and let’s stand firm in our faith when the wind and waves of outrageous fortune hit and continue to batter our souls.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study