Is courage really the absence of fear?
***This is an excerpt from my brand new book, The 1Word Book. I hope you enjoy it***
One of the ways that the dictionary defines the word courage is “the absence of fear.” I am not buying that for a second. Why? Because the Bible says “do not fear” about 70 times depending on the version you read. That is enough evidence for me to conclude that there is a fear problem rampant in our world. This isn’t a new problem, because clearly the people that were living when the Bible was written were dealing with fear as well.
Here is the concept that I am proposing to you: courage is not the absence of fear, but operating in spite of the fear that is present. One of the most prominent stories of courage is the life of William Wilberforce and his journey to abolish the rampant slave trade that was happening in Great Britain, where he he was a member of Parliament in the late 18th century and early 19th century.
I can guarantee you that Wilberforce experienced fear in his life. Did you know that he was twice physically beaten in the halls of Parliament by other politicians that he worked with? Not to mention, when Wilberforce first brought up the idea of abolishing slave trade in their country, he only had a few other colleagues with the same view. To put things in perspective for you, William Wilberforce eventually overcame massive odds and secured the abolition of slave trade in his country of Britain in 1807 with a vote of 283-16. Essentially, Wilberforce managed to completely flip the number of people that supported the abolition of slave trade in his time in parliament.
Before we move on with our lives and think that those acts of courage are for the select few, I want to remind you that if you are a Christ-follower, you are called to a life of sacrifice.
That means when the odds are stacked against you, it is not time to cower. God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, He gave us His Holy Spirit to live within us, and show up in mighty ways through us! You were not made to be controlled by fear, you are fearfully and wonderfully made by the almighty God of heaven. His kingdom is your new allegiance, and because of that you live as a mighty warrior for His sake. So there’s no longer an excuse to not live with courage.
William Wilberforce lived with courage because he was a man that was operating out of a broken heart. Wilberforce found a worthy cause to leverage his life for. He dedicated his entire life and career towards the cause of abolishing slavery in his country because he was filled with compassion and conviction. Let me tell you straight: the quickest way to live with courage is to be overflowing with compassion and conviction.
The next time the thought that courage is for the select few creeps into your mind, kick it to the curb and say “I’m not buying it.” Satan’s greatest weapon is not non-believers, it is lethargic and lukewarm believers. If Satan can convince a generation of church-goers that they do not need to be actively involved in the spiritual battle that is raging in the world, then we are in big trouble.
God isn’t looking for more people to sit on the sidelines. He is calling you and I to a life of actively following Him. When we get to heaven, we will get to rest at His feet and in His presence forever, and while we need those moments of rest on earth too--they are meant to be brief and their purpose is to restore us so that we can press on in the race that Christ calls us to.
If you want to read more, you can purchase a copy of The 1Word Book on Amazon. Just click here to do so. Please consider sharing this with a friend or colleague, and if this touched you, I encourage you to leave a review on Amazon to help spread the message of this book.
Thank you and God Bless,
- Josh Lane