Saturday, June 26, 2010

Courage to Live.

There is one emotion that I truly despise.  One emotion that in my eyes truly robs people.  One emotion that stifles growth and in so many ways, inhibits really living at all.  It can cripple, immobilize, and destroy.  It breaks apart relationships, ends dreams, and can even stop hearts from beating.


We are not made for fear.  The Bible tells us 365 times to "fear not."  Once for every day of the year. 

But what about those moments that make our pulse raise, our temperature rise, every muscle tensed and ready?  Is that sin?  Is it wrong to feel fear?  It's a question I've asked myself so many times... and I admit I do not have an exact answer.

I think it might be.  Before you get upset... follow me for just a minute.  1 John 4:18 tells us that "there is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment.  He that feareth is not made perfect in love."  If fear is a sign of imperfection... than it cannot be of God, and cannot be "right." 

Unfortunately... we are all flawed (Romans 3:23 - all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God).  We live in an imperfect, sin-infested world.  This side of heaven, we must fight to do what is right, and we often lose the fight (if we fight at all). 

That said... there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).  I would not dare, for even a second, to condemn someone because they are afraid.  In fact, there are things in this world that are pure evil.  Things that do wrack us with fear.  Mostly, death and the process of dying.  Indirectly, at times - being afraid of a financial situation,or where we will live, the start or end of a relationship.  Ultimately, it doesn't really matter why we are afraid. 

What matters is the presence of courage.  Courage is what sends us running toward the gunshot, so to speak.  It is what inspires greatness.  It is what gets us out of bed each morning and it is what enables us to learn new things.

It is not the absence of fear.

Courage is a choice we make.  It is choosing to act a certain way regardless of fear.  For some people, courage is smiling along with their cancer-ridden child.  It is in taking a deep breath as a coffin is lowered into darkness.  It might show up when a person stands before a review panel or when he or she kneels before the altar of God.

There are as many opportunities to choose courage as there are moments in life.  It looks different every time, but we can recognize it anyway.  Sometimes it is as much a surprise to the courageous one as it is to anyone looking on.

But always, courage lets us live.  Yes, actions buoyed by courage do sometimes lead to death.  Running into a burning building to save another; serving in the armed forces; waiting until the last minute to give birth in hope that a tiny child's lungs will develop just a little more. 

But it is courage that allows us to truly live.  Without it, we would not stand on top of mountains.  We would not stand with our arms outstretched to soak in the fury of a storm.  We would not laugh, we would not cry, we would not love.  We would never take a chance on our dreams, and we would miss every victory.

With it?  With courage... we can do those things and so much more.  We can truly live.  We can do more than exist.

There is one reason to have courage... one thing that lets us hold our heads high and stand unmoving in the face of anything.  The Lord, our God, is with us where ever we go.  (Joshua 1:9).  The fact that He is with us, that He never leaves or forsakes us... that is what gives us courage to live.

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