I like those old football movies where the coach fires up his down-trodden players at halftime. The other team is up 73-0 but the coach, who resembles Ronald Reagan, restores their courage with a passionate speech.
“Win one for the Gipper!” (And everyone under 40 says, “Who is the Gipper?”)
Supercharged with energy from the speech the team explodes from the locker room and goes on to win the game 74-73. (When you are Hollywood you can make it come out however you want).
But, how do real-life people who love the Lord, get a refill of courage when they find themselves in a corner, trembling like a bucket of jelly?
Here are six more courage-givers.
1. You tell yourself God’s truth over and over. Sometimes it seems all your enemies have united against you. Sickness, financial problems, relationship problems and depression cause you to want to run and hide.
But there is no place to hide. What to do?
Don’t be paralyzed by fear, Pray! Remind yourself of God’s promises, then act! You latch on to God’s word and hold on like the swordsman who grasps his sword and swings it until his hand is stuck to it.
2. Praise God in the face of your enemies. It looked like old king Jehoshaphat was getting ready to bite the dust. His enemies united to attack him. These powerful armies threatened to destroy him.
They were impressive and Jehoshaphat was scared. So what did he do? Call up the national guard? Initiate a hurried military build-up? Transfer all his money to an off-shore account and run to a country that would welcome him?
Nope. He called for a nation-wide prayer meeting. As the people humbled themselves, fasted and sought God, the Almighty, spoke by one of his prophets.
“He said, ‘Attention everyone—all of you from out of town, all you from Jerusalem, and you King Jehoshaphat—God’s word: Don’t be afraid; don’t pay any mind to this vandal horde. This is God’s war, not yours. Tomorrow you’ll go after them; see, they’re already on their way up the slopes of Ziz; you’ll meet them at the end of the ravine near the wilderness of Jeruel. You won’t have to lift a hand in this battle; just stand firm, Judah and Jerusalem, and watch God’s saving work for you take shape. Don’t be afraid, don’t waver. March out boldly tomorrow—God is with you.”
So the next day: “After talking it over with the people, Jehoshaphat appointed a choir for God; dressed in holy robes, they were to march ahead of the troops, singing,
‘Give thanks to God,
His love never quits.’
“As soon as they started shouting and praising, God set ambushes against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir as they were attacking Judah, and they all ended up dead.” (2 Chronicles 20, The Message)
Praise Him in the face of all attacks against you.
3. Keep coming back to the source of your courage. When General Joshua’s army began their conquest of the promised land, the base they kept returning to was Gilgal.
At Gilgal, they had renewed their covenant with God when they first came into the land.
You and I aren’t any different. We must remember where our life started—the Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s so easy to focus on the enemy and our perception of his “unlimited resources.” When our vision of our victorious Captain starts to dim, so do we.
But, when we look at the Lord:
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Rom. 8:32, NIV.
Everything thing we are and that we have flows from that sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection of Jesus at the Cross.
Our life ends and begins with Him. He fills each day.
When we thank God, praising and worshipping Him, it’s as if we we’re counting our money.
If we’re going to buy something we tally up our money to see if we’ve got enough. In life, God is our greatest resource and when we begin to praise, worship and meditate on who He is, when we begin to thank Him for what He has done, we’re counting our assets.
Faith grows and we move ahead with courage. Of course we do it mostly because we love Him, but counting our assets is also important when we’re afraid, discouraged, or at a loss as to what we should do.
4. Make sure that you’re not trying to rope God into your battle. Remember that this is not your fight. You’re fighting God’s combat. It’s His eternal plan. When the Captain of the Lord’s army appeared to Joshua, the frightened man asked him,
“Whose side are you on? Ours or theirs?”
The Captain replied, “Neither.” (Josh. 5:14)
What? God isn’t fighting battles that I dreamed up for him? Lots of folks are confessing stuff that God hasn’t given them.
Joshua had to get with God’s plan and not the opposite. He thought he was the commander of the Lord’s army. But, that day He discovered that he was God’s servant in carrying out God’s eternal plan and that there was an incredibly powerful invisible army backing up his visible army.
We are servants in God’s plan and not the opposite. Maybe, if defeat and discouragement ravage our life we need to do a check and see if we’re not trying to force God to do something that He doesn’t want to do.
And if we’re in God’s plan, we need to remind ourselves of our army’s resources.
5. Find a courage lifter and be a helper to other people’s courage. Acts 28:15
“And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.” (Acts 28:15, KJV)
“For indeed, when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, 7 and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.” (2 Cor. 7:5)
God often comes dressed up like a brother or a sister … or even you. The Lord uses us to encourage each other.
6. Imagine what God says. We spend a lot of time imagining what the future will be like without realizing it. Fear sees all the terrible things that might happen. Faith sees what God promised.
We might have to go through some tough times to get there but fill your mind with a God-promised future. When you think about the good things that could happen you’re hopeful and hope brings courage.
And if it doesn’t happen the way that you imagined God would do it? God takes even the bad stuff and weaves it into something wonderful for our life.
So, are you low on courage? Don’t just lay there shivering. God has answers for you. Get up and go on with your life. Trust Him. You are not alone.