To read about what needs to be done is one thing; to actually do those things is an entirely different matter.
In a conversation with me some years ago, a Navy jet pilot described aircraft carrier landings as “a dynamic environment.” Indeed! The ship is steaming along and bobbing in the rolling ocean; the 54,000-pound plane is approaching at 150 miles per hour; the flight deck is only a 1000 feet long and 250 feet wide; the four arresting wires are spaced 50 feet apart; there are unmovable obstacles in front of the flight deck (the ship’s fantail) and along the sides, and planes are often parked at the far end; the light is changing; the wind is shifting.
A church is also a dynamic environment made up of people with thoughts and feelings and traditions and backgrounds and personal interests and friends and relatives. There are all sorts of people: husbands, wives, children, unmarried, young, old, cheerful, grouchy, spiritual babes and gray-haired saints, fired up and not very fired up, healthy and sick, mature and immature.
To stand up in the midst of such a dynamic environment and proclaim and enforce God’s Word takes supernatural courage.
“To read about what needs to be done is one thing; to actually do those things is an entirely different matter.”
Pondering that, I realized that we don’t need so much to pray for courage; we just need to obey God, because He has said that courage is available to the saint who obeys Him.
“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Ti. 1:6-7).
We see that God never gives fear. Fear comes, but it is not of God. Fear is of the flesh and the devil. Giving in to fear is disobedience and breeds more fear. It is a crippling progression.
Instead of fear, God has given His people the spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind. When the believer stirs up the gift of God, which is done by rising up and doing what God has told him to do, power, love, and a sound mind are present and effectual.
Courage is mentioned many times in Scripture, but it is never, to my knowledge, mentioned in the context of prayer. It is not something to ask for or to seek; it is something to do.
Consider what God said to Joshua,
“There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Jos. 1:6-9).
God did not tell Joshua to pray for courage; He told him to be courageous. He repeated it five times by way of emphasis. “... be strong and of a good courage ... be thou strong and very courageous ... be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed.”
God told Joshua to be filled with the Word of God (“this book of the law ... thou shalt meditate therein day and night”) and to obey the Word of God (“that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein”), and to trust that God was 100% with him and committed to helping him (“I will be with thee; I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee”), and therefore to be strong and courageous. Just be it! As the preacher is filled with Scripture and obeys the Scripture, courage is present.
God says reprove, rebuke, exhort (2 Ti. 4:2; Tit. 2:15), and when the preacher obeys, courage is available.
God says practice discipline (1 Co. 5), and when the preacher obeys in this difficult matter, which is always attended by fears, courage is available.
God says that He requires that stewards be found faithful (1 Co. 4:2), and when the preacher obeys and requires faithfulness of church workers, courage is available.
God says to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3), and when the preacher obeys, courage is available.
God stands ready to work. “Let us rise up and build” (Ne. 2:18)!
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Way of Life Literature
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Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials