Saturday, November 8, 2008


Courage (noun): the state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery (American Heritage Dictionary)

There is a tendency to speak of courage as if it were an act of the body rather than an act of the will. Linguistically, courage is a noun, and converts easily to an adverb. Adverbs modify verbs, such as describing how something is done -- courageously, sheepishly, rapidly, etc. -- rather than naming the action itself. This quote by Ambrose Redmoon says it well: "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.".

Without fear, there can be no courage. To do what is right despite danger or opposition is the courageous action. I love Joshua 1, in which God appoints Joshua to lead the Israelites after the death of Moses. He instructs Joshua, "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land... Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey... Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Pretty repetitive, eh? But the repetition may have been important to Joshua, who was about to take on an incredible task. And he needed to know the source of his strength and the reason for such courage -- the power, presence and character of God.

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