An extended definition
Courage is a goal that many like to dream of or hope for, yet courage is not obtained by hoping or dreaming. Courage is found by thoroughly reading the Scriptures. When one reads such verses as, “Yehovah is our refuge and strength, a help in trouble soon found. Therefore we shall not fear though the earth is removed and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,” (Psalm 46: 1+2) they cannot help but gather a special sense of strength. One of the main components of courage is strength–not always a physical strength, but more often a mental strength. It is strength in the midst of trouble–the moments that you feel weakest. That gift of strength comes straight from God, as “He gives power to the weak and to those who have no strength He increases might.” (Isaiah 40:29)
Another key component of courage is trust in Yehovah. Those who are courageous often face great dangers. How shall they march boldly toward these obstacles if they do not have trust in Yehovah? They must believe that Yehovah has the world in His hands, and that if danger leads to death, He will take their souls safely to heaven above. Some people try to get courage by trusting in something else: a false god, a false doctrine, or themselves. Such courage, no matter how honorable it may look, is a house built on shifting sand. It will soon fail and give way to fear. True courage comes from a soul who believes in righteous morals and truths, and marches into battle knowing that even if they fall, the truth of what they stood for will live on. It comes from someone who believes that he can can do all through the One who strengthens him. They have reasons to be brave. Their house is built on solid rock, and they shall not be moved, for “if Elohim is for us, who shall stand against us?” (Romans 8: 31)
Also included in our recipe for courage are the sister virtues self-denial and self-restraint. They are so closely intermingled, it is hard to distinguish the two. Self-denial denotes giving up pleasures for the sake of others, or ignoring desire; whereas, self-restraint denotes holding back emotions or fear. Either one means thinking of someone else before you think of yourself. They both are heightened and admirable forms of selflessness. A courageous person is willing to take great pains in order to relieve someone else. A courageous person has a great love in his heart for others. That love is also a gift from Yehovah, who Himself is love.
And certainly courage requires difficult work, whether it is marching into battle, telling someone that they were wrong, or simply practicing the different attributes of courage. It requires facing your fears and not letting them conquer you. It requires showing that there is something or someone that you are willing to stand up for, sweat for, or fight for. It requires not backing out on the truth. It requires persevering until the end. It requires not giving into peer-pressure or doing something simply because everyone else is doing it. It requires being different and distinguishing yourself from the crowd. Courage never comes easily, for courage means resistance to whatever rises against you. It is easier to stand back and do nothing, but the cowardly on earth are the cowardly in heaven. What crown do they have to lay before the Master of all?
For the courageous soul there is honor waiting at the end of struggle. They shall receive a crown of glory, whether it is a military victory or a simple assurance that when faced with a problem, they did the right thing. That crown shall be worth whatever hardship they faced. Paul reminds us, “For I consider that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed to us.” (Romans 8: 18) This verse is ever so true.
With all this in mind, let us turn to the greatest example of courage and every other noble virtue: Yeshua the Messiah. He came to earth in the strength and power of the Father. He trusted the Father implicitly and, abandoning His own desires, prayed, “Not My will but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) In the face of all horrifying, shameful, and undeserved suffering, He possessed absolute perfection and retained a marvelous stability of mind. He persevered through all hardship and did the Father’s work until all was finished. He gave of Himself, gave even His life, for us: the greatest gift of love ever given. He was the blameless Son of Yehovah, sent to save us and show us all how to live by the Spirit. He “saw the labor of His life and was satisfied.” (Isaiah 53: 11) He was lifted up into glory and now sits at the right hand of the Father.
So now, those who are courageous, keep up the good work! For those who still struggle to be brave, with the power of Messiah, know that you can overcome whatever enemy is looming before you. Let us all run the race of life with both courage and endurance. With our eyes upon the prize before us, let us bravely hurry to fight sin and fear. At the end of the race is a crown, a crown to lay before our blessed Savior. And if He says unto us, “Well done, good and faithful servant,”(Matthew 25: 21) may we reply in humility that we have only done that which was our duty.
I will leave you with the charge Moses gave to Joshua thousands of years ago. It is still applicable to our lives today: “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear nor be afraid by them For Yehovah your Elohim is the One going with you. He shall not leave you nor forsake you.” (Numbers 31: 6)