Jesus said, “Take courage!” How simple, right? Of course it is, as we read this story of Jesus walking on water while sitting in a comfortable chair, safe and secure in our home. When the disciples heard Jesus say, “Take courage!” they were being buffeted by high winds, in the middle of a lake, at three o’clock in the morning! From where (or whom) were they to find courage?!?!
Jesus Said “It Is I”
Jesus answered that question with three simple words: “It is I ”. Jesus’ answer was that He (and He alone) is to be the source of their courage. Period. Nothing more, nothing less. So simple, like much of what Jesus said.
I must ask: Rather than Jesus, where do we often look for courage? Is it in:
• Our own strength or wisdom?
• The wisdom and advice of others?
• The institutions, policies, and theories of modern man?
• Technology and science?
• A strong mate or partner?
Jesus Said “Don’t Be Afraid”
In my life, when does “my” courage fail me and I give in to fear? (It is no accident I typed this sentence. It makes a point, that the common phrase, “My courage….” cuts Jesus right out of the picture!). Jesus said replace your fear with courage, and get courage from me!
Theoretically speaking, when fearful, it should be a Christian’s first response to pray for courage. Practically speaking, our emotions take over and we get caught up in the mind, in reasoning, in mentally trying to restore equilibrium to our uncomfortable, fearful state of mind. One example is when I am prompted to share my faith with someone, but then quickly following that thought is fear that they won’t listen, I will be ridiculed, it will not do any good anyway, or it is probably not the best time. All lies, all from the devil, and all easily ignored if I remember what Jesus said and “Take courage! Jesus lives! He has overcome all, so there is no need to fear!”
Once, when I felt God’s Spirit prompting me to do something and I hesitated (partly out of fear), the next prompt I got was, “It’s not about you”. So true! When I need courage, it is never found when I look at myself or others. The solution is to look at Jesus and reaffirm that it is ALL about Him, the glorious God we serve! Let us take focus off ourselves and fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). Let us stand firm in faith (1 Corinthians 16:13) and “Take courage!” … from Jesus.