Convictions are meaningless without courage. Without a courage displayed to others those convictions will certainly fall at some point. This is true for the Christian as much as anybody. Upon looking at the state of society many Christians become fearful. It is a fear that often paralyzes and immobilizes. It is also a fear that is contrary to the Christian life.
God is powerful over all things and has affirmed through the testimony of Paul that He not given us a spirit of fear, but one of love and power (2 Timothy 1:7). The fear instilled into us by the world is neutralized by God. In fact, William Gurnall reminds us that “a cowardly spirit is beneath the lowest duty of a Christian.”
When the world accosts us for what we believe, we do not cower in fear, but instead we continue in courage. We stand in courage because we understand our inability. It seems strange to think that a recognition of our own inability would cause us to be more courageous. However when we have confidence in our own ability, doubt will surely be present because we know that each of us has failed at some point in our lives. Even in the boldest of stances there is the slightest of voices that calls out to us to remember those times that we did fall, because we all have.
Yet the Christian finds his strength not in himself, but in God. God, who is always able and faithful, has reassured us not in His Word only, but in His action. Confidence no longer comes within our own strength, but will assuredly rest in God because the battle is dependent not upon you or I, but on His performance.
At the first sign of hardship, many will turn away. It is important then, to be well-established and well-equipped in your faith. There are two aspects of the Christian life to be settled at this point:
- An Established Mind: One’s mind must be settled upon the knowledge of God’s truth and God’s character. More than a passing acquaintance with God, it is an intimate and deep relationship with the one, true God. Only when the mind is established on God can one’s character be established in courage.
- An Established Heart: We are told that “half-hearted resolve will not venture much nor far for Christ.” Not only should the mind be established on God, but so also must the heart be set upon Him. It must be settled into the right direction. When the mind is established on God then one’s character can also be established in courage.
The mind causes one to know the truth while the heart causes one to act upon that truth. Therefore, courage displayed in the Christian life requires both an engaged mind and an engaged heart.
If you are reading through The Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall with me, feel free to post your own thoughts in the comments section. Want to join in? It’s not too late. Simply pick up your copy of the book and begin reading (you can read more about the project or find out where to pick up a copy of the book by clicking here). Next week we will read chapter 1, section 2, “A Christian’s Call to Service” and then come back next Thursday to be challenged in your thinking of the text.