How to be Courageous
You cannot stand firm on toothpick stilts of self-determination, or self-righteousness. The only solid ground is that God, in Christ, has forgiven all your sins and given you His Spirit in order that you might walk in all righteousness. Paul exhorts the Corinthian church this way, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong (1Co 16:13).” This steadfast courage arises from those who know and believe that they have been buried with Christ, and raised into the life of resurrection which Christ secured for them, and which the Spirit assures them of.
If you hadn’t noticed, the world is a bit topsy-turvey at the moment. As you all enter adulthood, you are faced with hard times. Congrats. You can either mope about it, complaining about previous generations idiocy. Or you can say, “I need a lion or bear thrown in to make it more interesting (Cf. Pro. 23:16).”
This is a time for courage. But courage isn’t a pill you take. It isn’t a class at a Christian Liberal Arts college. Courage isn’t found in poasting edgy memes. Courage is the steadfast stance of faith. God is your God. Believe it. Then live it.
But we must first ask, “Where does discouragement come from?” There are a few ways in which staunchness can turn into stench. First, discouragement can arise from unconfessed sin. The cure, of course, is to confess your sin. To God & to those you’ve sinned against. Then sin no more. In the battle against darkness, harboring evil or disobedience in your own heart is doing the Enemy’s dirty work for him. Think of the Lord’s warning in Leviticus 26:14-17 “But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.”
Secondly, discouragement can arise from saying yes to going along with sinners. In other words, you may not be doing anything sinful per se (or so you argue with yourself), but you keep finding yourself keeping company with knuckleheads & idiots. Solomon’s instruction is the cure if this describes you: “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not (Pro 1:10).” Learn to say “No.” “No” to your own heart, and “no” to the enticements of evildoers.
A third source of discouragement comes from external trials. This one is trickier. It may be that you look around you and think that you didn’t ask for any of this. You were minding your own business. You didn’t ask to be cast in a dystopian novel about tyrannical mad scientists & politicians wanting to run experiments on you, while you wear VR headsets in a pod, being fed plant-based meat goo, and sedated with AI kink-porn generated specifically for you.