by Kris Baines - What is courage?
Often when we hear the word “courage” we think of it in the context of a man who has no fears or doubts, and is always confident. Well that doesn’t capture the essence of what it really means to be courageous. Here is a great quote that explains why:
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” James Neil Hollingworth
True courage is something that exists alongside real fears, not apart from them. During the February 22nd 2011 earthquakes here in my hometown of Christchurch, there was a great display of courage from so many people. During the catastrophic events, normal people like you and I put aside our fears and gave ourselves to the more important task of helping others. That is courage.
Why is courage important?
Any man who is attempting to follow Christ as a husband/father/man knows that there are many challenges and obstacles in his path. As I observe men in the body of Christ, and the difference between those who are walking in victory and those that aren’t, something is very clear. Those who bear fruit are men who are both informed and intentional about their role. These men are courageous because they are normal men with normal fears, normal challenges and normal temptations – but they choose to live by conviction (what is right) rather than convenience (what is easy). They feel weak at times, and fearful, but ask God for the strength to carry on – that is courage. They lose perspective and lack in passion at times, but place themselves alongside other brothers who can help and support them – that is courage. They seek the Word and wisdom from others about what God requires of them, then sacrificially prioritise those things in their lives above other things – that is courage.
How do we become courageous?
“What helps a man to be courageous is the presence of another in his life.” Ed Litton
We’ve all seen the boost that athletes get when someone is cheering them on from the sidelines. They gain extra energy, strength and stamina that seem to come out of nowhere! Let’s consider that from a spiritual perspective. Throughout the Scriptures when God seeks to use a man for His purposes, feelings of doubt and fear often rise to the surface. However, God never responds by saying, “Ok, if you are fearful, you don’t need to do what I have called you to do”. Instead God says time and time again, “Fear not! For I am with you!”
Here’s just one example from Isaiah 41:10...
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Numerous Scriptures say the same thing over and over again, confirming to us that God never calls us to do anything He won’t give us the ability to carry out – never!
So in summary, we “get” courage, by prayer and reliance upon God’s Word.
I remember a time God put it on my heart while reading the Word to challenge my unsaved neighbour about his decision to leave his wife and young child. I trembled at the thought of the confrontation, but knew if I didn’t, maybe no one would. One evening, God opened the door as my neighbour was putting out his rubbish. My stomach knotted but I prayed for strength and pursued the conversation. He didn’t follow my unsolicited counsel, but I spoke the truth in love and left the results with God. He gave me the courage I lacked.
So let us each commit to living courageously, choosing the “more important things” over our fears – and in God’s strength, the world around us will be blessed by the fruits of courageous manhood.
Kris Baines is the director of Eternal Purpose Ministries www.eternalpurposeministries.org.
In 2011, during the devastating Christchurch earthquakes, Kris was working as a paramedic.
Kris is a pianist and composer. In 2018 Kris released his solo piano arrangement of “God Defend New Zealand” which featured in his music video that you can watch [here].