The Unofficial 5-step Guide to Courage
You are unique. Out of the 7.5 billion people on the planet, not a single one of them shares your thumbprint, your voice or even more important: your gifts. The gifts that we each have inside of us were uniquely placed by God to build his Kingdom and bring glory to Him.
The God of the universe created you and he only creates good things. The gifts that you can offer to the world are a good thing. In fact, they are a very good thing.
Here is what God said when he created the world:
Day 1: light & dark ‘that’s good’
Day 2: sky ‘that’s good’
Day 3: land & plants ‘that’s good’
Day 4: stars, moon, sun ‘that’s good’
Day 5: flying animals and sea animals ‘that’s good’
Day 6: land animals and people ‘that’s very good’
He declared from the get-go that you are very good.
I think there are two different types of sins, sins of commission or sins that you commit with action and sins of omission, or sins that come from not doing something when you should. If God has placed a unique gift and calling on your life, it is important to do your part in living that out. There will never be another you and there will never be another person that is as uniquely gifted as you.
God has given our generation more resources than has he given any other generation of all time. At the swipe of our finger, we have access to more information than anyone could ever learn in a lifetime. I know that when God pumps His resources into something, he demands a lot out of it. He’s wanting a lot out of us.
Here’s a story Jesus tells in Matthew 25:
14-18 “It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.
19-21 “After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
22-23 “The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’
24-25 “The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’
26-27 “The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.
28-30 “‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’
The table has been set for us to understand that the vast resources we have been given as a generation, the uniqueness of individuality and that our giftings are meant to bring glory and honor to God. You must discover your gifts. The life you are living is a story, the story is still unwritten and you are the author. There is still time for you to live out what you were created to live out.
I’ve learned that one of the hardest steps on the road to living out what we know God has placed inside of us is having enough courage. John Wayne said it best when he said, “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”
1. Define and Describe the Hope
The hope is your grandest expression of your greatest joy coming to fruition.
Deep in your heart lies a wild imagination of your preferred future. It’s a world where everything is as it is meant to be and some of your greatest passions are on full display. In order to be successful and have courage, you must define and describe this hope that is hidden in your heart. It should be big. It should be audacious. I’d rather shoot big and miss it a little than shoot small and get it every time.
We have some students in our church who started a YouTube channel on the first day of the year. They set a goal to have 1,000 subscribers on their channel by the end of the year. Now that’s a pretty big goal for some students, but it’s good that it is a big goal. God does not position people for small things. The impact He has for you is greater than you can imagine. By defining and describing our grandest expression of this hope, it’s lending way for our faith to be activated.
2. Voice the Fear
Anytime you begin to pursue the gifts and life that God has in store for you, the enemy will come in opposition against you. Our best method lies in understanding that we overcome through the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimony. We have the power to speak to things that get in our way.
Many times we can start to feel intimated by the largeness of that hope we have. Sometimes we are intimated by the task, other times by the success of our peers. And there always seems to be a few critics along the way too.
If you decided to chase after something courageous God has placed inside of you and there was no opposition, I would be afraid because the destiny God has for you comes with opposition. One of the best ways to voice the fear is in your daily time you spend with God. In those moments, you are petitioning to God to reaffirm what he has placed in you and once again give you the courage and strength to continue.
3. Begin to Act
When God calls us to something, it is important that we begin to act and move towards the direction that He wants. One thing that separates many people is not ability or intelligence or talent, it’s that some people were able to muster up enough to courage to act when others weren’t.
In the Old Testament, there is a story of a guy named Moses who God chooses to lead the Israelites out of slavery. After a hard-fought battle with Pharaoh, he finally agrees to hand over the slaves to Moses. As Moses begins his journey, Pharaoh changes his mind and sends his armies after them to recapture the slaves. By this time Moses had led the people to a spot where they had no choice but to listen and trust God. Behind them was Pharaoh’s army, on either side of them were large mountain ranges, and in front of them was the Red Sea. Moses heard the whisper of God’s voice saying for him to continue towards the Red Sea. In the natural, it didn’t make sense but Moses continued to head that direction. It wasn’t until Moses put his foot in the water that God parted the Red Sea and gave the Israelites an opening. The entire nation of people made it across the water safely.
You may not know exactly where to go or how to get started, but you can listen to the whisper of God in your life.
Isaiah 30:12 says this:
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Take a step today!
4. Find Accountability
There are different types of accountability that you should have in your life.
Sin accountability is a group of people you have in your life that you can share everything with. These are people that hold you accountable from falling in any deep sin pitfalls in your life. This is a necessary element for anyone that has a walk with Christ.
Goal accountability helps you execute with courage this grand expression of hope we are talking about. Together you provoke each other onto good works. They make sure that you are taking the steps you want to take towards what God is calling you to do.
I call it a corner man. If you have ever watched any type of fight, you have seen the routine. In between rounds, there is someone that meets with their fighter in the corner. They are there with a water bottle and you can always see them talking to the fighter. It’s in these moments that the fighter is getting encouragement and wisdom for the next round. The corner man’s job is to ensure that the previous round wasn’t enough to discourage the fighter & end the match, and also to make sure that the next round is going to be even better than the previous round.
On your path to courageous living, find a corner man that is going to be there with you through all the blows that you may take along the way. You’ll need them in order to stay encouraged and execute.
5. Celebrate Successes
Every small step that you take towards the finished product of your goal is a success and should be celebrated. Always try your best, even if you fail keep trying. God sees your work, your passion, and persistence.
I remember my first semester in college. I took a really difficult class on Islam and chose to cram for the final one night. It was exhausting, but the method I created for myself was to study one chapter at a time, pausing to celebrate each chapter with an episode from the TV Show ‘Lost’ on Netflix. It was my first experience binge watching, but the small reward of one episode per one chapter was enough to keep me going.
On the pathway to your goal, take some pauses to celebrate! Reward yourself. You may not yet be where you want to be in the end, but you certainly are much further along than if you had done nothing at all!