Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Courage and Christian Life

This way to expansive and exciting Christian living.

Brave Heart (7)

And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. Matthew 14.28, 29

Lights in the darkness
Living as a Christian requires courage in every situation of our lives. And this is because Christians are never content with the status quo of their lives. They want to keep growing. Love compels them to reach out to others. Knowing the lost condition of their neighbors, Christians seek ways of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus at every opportunity.

In short, Christians are a “pressing on” folk, and it takes daily courage to sustain such a way of life.

It’s easy just to remain comfortable and not at all inconvenienced in the life of faith; however, living this way is not what God intends for His people. God calls us to stand out like lights in the dark world of sin. He is working to make us holy, and has put His Gospel into our mouths. He has sent His Spirit to live within us, and that Spirit leads us into the hope of glory which makes all things new in our lives. He has called us to be witnesses and instructed us to do good works like Jesus did. We are to seek His Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit; and He commands us to build His Church, so that Jesus may be exalted among the people of the world.

If we’re focusing on the promises of God, living obediently in the power of His Spirit, and bearing witness in all our words and deeds, we’re going to stand out from the rest of the world. And we’ll need real Christian courage, every day, to live like this for the Lord.

Living as a Christian is a lot like Peter, wanting to walk on the water. He’d never done that before, and it didn’t seem likely that he could do so now. Indeed, it might be risky and even dangerous to try it. He had never known anyone who’d walked on water, and never dared to ask or think of it for himself.

Nevertheless, focused on Jesus, eager to join Him, and obedient to His command, he stepped out of that little boat and began walking on the water to Jesus. Now that took real Christian courage.

Consider Peter
Let’s examine the process of living in Christian courage. Think of Peter: First, you imagine yourself doing something, or being something, that you’ve never dared to ask or think before. I doubt Peter had ever even wondered what it might be like to walk on the water. But he saw Jesus on the water. He saw Jesus doing something, being something, that he dared to believe could be true of himself as well. Jesus is the culmination of all the promises of God (2 Cor. 1.20). The more we look to Jesus, the more clearly we see Jesus and envision ourselves with Him, doing what He does, the more we, too, will begin to dream of things we’ve never done before, things that will make us more like Jesus. Indeed, Jesus promised us that the works we should expect to do will be the works He Himself did, and even greater, because of the great numbers of those who believe (Jn. 14.12).

Let your mind expand into regions of belief and obedience where you only dare go if the Lord gives you courage to do so. This is how your heart begins to be brave in the Lord.

Second, Peter cleared his plan with the Lord: “Lord, if it is You, command me…” Whatever it is you feel the Lord is leading or calling you to do, or whatever you envision yourself doing, even if it’s exceedingly abundantly beyond anything you’ve ever dared to ask or think before, check it out with the Scriptures and compare it with the promises of God. Is this bold step I’m envisioning, for which I will need real Christian courage, consistent with the promises and commands of the Lord? Is this what Jesus did? Is it in line with the righteousness, peace, and joy that characterize His reign? Wait on the Lord and pray, until you are assured that what you are envisioning is something He is likely to condone.

Then, determine the next steps you need to take to begin moving toward the promises – toward Jesus – and in obedience to what the Lord has commanded you. Think small: Get up, put my hands on the side of the boat, first leg over, second leg over, stand up straight, take a step… Keep your eyes on Jesus, exalted in glory and advancing His Kingdom, and make plans to take real steps which mark out a path of obedience toward becoming more like Him. You can be bold taking small steps, and, as you do, your courage will grow and prepare you for the larger steps to come.

If, that is, you can keep your eyes on Jesus. Don’t let the situation make you afraid. Don’t let the doubts and discouragement of your timid friends keep you from going forward. Don’t be shackled by your previous experience or lack thereof. Get out of the boat! Get moving toward Jesus! And watch what the Spirit of God will do to embolden and encourage you for a life of daily obedience to the Lord.

Living courageously
Yes, living courageously can be risky, and sometimes even costly. But who wants to live timid lives of small faith? Not me! And hopefully, not you, either.

The waves and storms of this world are no match for the courageous Christian – eyes squarely focused on Jesus and His promises, clear in his understanding of what the Lord commands, and determined to take the daily small steps of obedience from which Christian courage flows for the exceedingly abundantly more and more that Jesus can do in and through us.

Brave hearts lead to bold and faithful deeds in the name of the Lord, issuing from the fear of God, love for God and neighbors, giving thanks in every situation, and hoping in God’s glory, to create an expansive and adventurous life of following Jesus.

For reflection
1.  Are there any situations in your life in which you wish you could “walk on water” a little more consistently?

2.  Take one of those situations and apply Peter’s approach to walking on water with what you might do to exercise Christian courage in this situation. Outline how you might approach this effort.

3.  What are the greatest obstacles to your learning to live more courageously as a Christian?

Next steps – Conversation: What is your vision of what Christ wants to do with your life? Where will you need real Christian courage to follow Jesus? How can you seek the Lord to “be strong and courageous” in doing His will (Josh. 1.9)?z

T. M. Moore

Focusing on Jesus
All the installments in this “Strong Souls” series are available in PDF by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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