I wish to encourage you to walk in courage. It can seem in life, as if courage only belongs to those who are arrogant, proud, egotistical, and domineering. While courage tends to be a quality that we typically think of in relation to the big challenges in life, it is in fact at the heart of genuine faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. New Testament courage speaks of out-spokenness, frankness, boldness, confidence, and openness, which typically is a characteristic that God calls His redeemed people to exemplify.
It’s remarkably easy to allow our environment and friends to sway us, to influence us away from a pure devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ and His written Word. Compromise is a seductress that preys upon the weak, luring them away from singleness of mind, from undivided devotion to Christ, and from loyalty to Scripture.
The apostle Paul explains with uncommon insight …that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, (19) for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, (20) as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honoured in my body, whether by life or by death. (21) For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Philippians 1:18-21). Here, Paul writes a rare nugget of truth that explains how our Lord works within us believers, mostly without us even being aware of it. Following are a few observations:
- Paul’s ability to verbally rejoice grew out of seeing and hearing Christ proclaimed in a multitude of ways.
- Prayer and the working of the Holy Spirit are intrinsically intertwined. As Jesus explained to Nicodemus in John 3:8, The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. While we are often unaware of the Holy Spirit’s working, He is in reality, working to first of all bring spiritual rebirth, and secondly, to help us. He helps us in whatever way necessary to proclaim Christ in and through us (Sanctification).
- Paul’s expectation was that the working of the Holy Spirit, in conjunction with prayer, would produce full courage.
- Full courage is provided for the singular purpose of honouring Christ! The Holy Spirit strives to get all believers to the maturity of living Christ and not self. Holy Spirit motivated and enabled courage is never for personal gain, health, or popularity. Jesus explained this to His disciples in John 16:14, He (The Holy Spirit) will glorify me…
As we enter another Christmas, I wish to encourage you to be people of prayer, humbly seeking and allowing the Holy Spirit to cause you to be courageous at celebrating the miraculous incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, Immanuel (God with us). Courage enables faith to give expression, it empowers non-compromise, it loosens the tongue to speak well of the Saviour, and it fulfils the purpose of our Lord for His children. Jesus focused courage is not proud or arrogant, rather, it gets on with peacefully promoting whatever the task is at hand with tenacious perseverance. Courage never lets go, it doesn’t allow us to be side-tract, and it never permits mediocrity to dilute our devotion to the cause of Christ’s glory.