Tag Archives: Courage

How do we increase our faith?

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(Old Testament trash talk)

You know when God teaches you something in his Word and you just want to share it? This is one of those posts because it’s my blog and I can do what I want to.

I’ve been reading 1 Samuel lately because it’s one of my favorite books of the Bible because, well, David. I can’t help but love the guy. Anyway, I get to the story of David and Goliath and God showed me something in that story that I never knew. Don’t you love when God does that? He takes a story you’ve heard since childhood and makes you see it in a completely new way.

I always assumed David was afraid, even though I knew he volunteered to fight Goliath. Like he was shaking in his sandals and no armor, but God gave him the courage to slay the giant. After reading the text, I’m not so sure that was the case.

“When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.” 1 Sam. 17:48 ESV (emphasis mine)

He RAN QUICKLY. Basically he sprinted to meet Goliath, A GIANT, at the battle line. Scared people don’t sprint to meet their enemies. People who are fearful enter into battle carefully, with a well thought out plan. They may have summoned the courage to fight but they’re still sweating bullets when they enter onto the battlefield. No one shows up for a fight with a slingshot and a few little rocks and no armor to fight his opponent who is fully armed.

No one but David.

Was he just young and naïve? Rebel without a cause? Was he a teenager that thought he was going to live forever? Nope.

He was certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that God would deliver the people of Israel. He was betting his very life on it. See, we have to back up a little in the story to understand why David would have such confidence. Earlier in the passage, Saul is trying to talk David out of fighting Goliath, reminding him he’s just a boy and Goliath is a man trained for war.

“But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” (1 Sam. 17:34-37 ESV)

Oh, I’m sorry, did it say LIONS and BEARS? When hearing this story as a child I’m envisioning cartoon lions and bears. Like Simba and Baloo. It didn’t even seem real at the time. As an adult, if you told me my teenage son would be fighting off lions and bears to protect our families’ sheep, I would have a heart attack. Literally. I would also tell him to go ahead and say goodbye to sweet lamby because his mama ain’t gonna let him fight no wild animal. What kind of person fights lions and bears to save one little lamb? The person who has something to protect and, in this case, a person who knows he cannot lose.

David goes on to say:

“The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Sam. 17:37)

Whoop there it is. David remembered.

How did David know God would help him defeat Goliath? Because He had done it before against lions and bears. David remembered God’s faithfulness to him in the past, which gave David faith for the present. David was certain of God’s faithfulness to him. He knew he was beloved by the Father and that the Father would protect him and deliver the people of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. Oh to have that kind of faith! The kind that assures me that I can do the hard, scary things and God will show up. He always shows up for His kids.

Want to increase your faith? Remember a time when God has been faithful to you. Recall a time He came to your rescue. God is always faithful even when we are not. We are his beloved sheep that He gave His own Son’s life to save…before we even knew him.

We would do well to face our giants like David.

RUN QUICKLY to the battle line.

REMEMBER God’s past faithfulness.

BE CERTAIN of victory.

This is how we face our fears. This is how we move mountains. We may not win the battle every time. We may very well crash and burn. This doesn’t mean God didn’t show up. It just means He has other plans. There is much to learn when we feel we’ve been defeated and we take that with us as we go into our next battle. My internal victories are far more significant than my outward successes by a long shot. I think when God spoke of the “work He has planned for us” (Eph. 2:10), much of it was on ourselves, in our hearts. And rest easy, God has already slain the enemy. Victory is oursWhat’s the mountain facing you?

-Courtney

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Dancing with Fear

Fear. It’s a powerful feeling. For me, it’s probably second only to love. It has the ability to cripple me if I choose to let it. It gives me thousands of excuses as to why I don’t need to chase dreams or do anything out of my comfort zone. Fear is a bully. Fear digs deep inside of me and plants seeds of doubt and anxiety so they will grow roots and attempt to strangle hopes and dreams that are planted deep down as well. Something interesting that I’m finding as I am chasing something God dreamed up a few years ago, is that hopes and fears are not mutually exclusive. They don’t have to be separate. They can coexist in my life and create enough tension to propel me forward. Hope is supernatural. There is no other reason for hope except that God placed it in our hearts through Christ. Fear is human. We fear because we are human beings that aren’t in control.

This year, 2016, I’m resolving to marry hope and fear in my life in order to give birth to courage. Courage doesn’t come in absence of fear nor can it come without hope. I must have both as a means to practice courage. Without fear, the dream is too easy and without hope I would be crushed under the weight my fear. I need both.

Some of you know, some of you don’t, that I have been trying to publish a children’s book in the last year. It has given me all the feelings. ALL OF THEM. It’s getting close to being finished and printed and I couldn’t be more excited/scared/humbled that this little story is coming full circle. I will tell you more as it gets closer to releasing but for now, I’m trying to live in the tension of hope and fear.

Much of this revelation came from a song I heard this year. It’s become one of my favorites and I hope you like it too. It’s by Ben Rector who is amazing and wonderful and talented and entertaining in concert. Appropriately the song is called “Fear.” My favorite line of the song says,

“I learned to dance with the fear that I’d been running from.”

This line spoke straight to my soul. Dancing with my fear. I’d never considered that I could do that. Thanks, Ben. If you have a couple of minutes, give it a listen. As a matter of fact, listen to the whole album. It’s well worth your time.

Here’s to doing things that require courage this year. Why not do something that seems scary and uncomfortable just to see how it turns out? More times than not, these are the things that grow us more into the people we want to become. On a side note, my family gave up desserts for the month of January and this is VERY SCARY. I don’t recommend courage in the form of “no desserts”; this is lunacy.

-Courtney

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