Courage Not Conformity

“Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord.”
Psalm 31: 24.

That is a text worth bronzing and putting on one’s mantel. Take it to the bank, your mental bank, and deposit. It will pay dividends. 

Courage is a Christian virtue. In fact, it is impossible to follow and please Christ without it. He has charged His followers, “Be of good courage…” Our English word “courage” comes from the Latin root “cor,” meaning the condition of the heart. King Richard I, by name Richard the Lionhearted, or in French Richard Coeur de Lion, meaning, the king with the heart of a lion.

In the text the Hebrew for courage “tharreo” literally means to be bold. Instead of yielding to impatience or despondency under our troubles, we should turn our thoughts to the goodness of the Lord towards those who fear and trust in Him. Thus, the Lord strengthens our heart enabling us to be of good cheer.

Hope ignites such courage. Our English word “hope” came into being by combining two old Anglo Saxon word meanings: desire plus expectation. If you desire for the Lord to strengthen your heart, and expect Him to do so, He will.

Hope in the Lord cheers, sustains, comforts; makes life happier. It even makes death more calm, serene, and triumphant.

“…the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy.” (Psalm 33: 18)

Personal courage is enshrined as one of the seven core Army values in the modern U.S. Army. The Army defines it simply as “facing fear, danger or adversity (physical or moral).” Courage is no less a Christian virtue. In fact, it is impossible to follow and please Jesus without it. 

Through the ages it has been the mantra of legions of our Lord’s loyalists.

One of the church’s first recorded martyrs was a frail slave girl named Blandina. Because she was not a Roman citizen, she was not allowed to be beheaded but was instead subject to torture if she did not renounce her faith in Jesus. The Roman soldiers exhausted themselves trying to get her to deny Jesus. She was made to watch the torture of her fellow Christians and ultimately put in a net and tossed around like a toy by an enraged bull before a cheering crowd. Yet, she did not deny her Lord.

Courage under such extreme circumstances won many gladiators to faith in Jesus. As new converts some of them later faced death in the arena.

Part of being strong and of good courage means trusting in the Lord as our true source of strength.

Believers in Jesus belong to a kingdom not of this world. Our King has not called us to conformity with the world, but to be conquerors of it.

Courage not conformity with the world is our charge in our daily lives.