Love people? That would certainly seem a good bet. Obey God? Seems a safe choice. Maybe something about giving money, abstaining from sex, praying more, or attending church? It has to be in one of these categories right?
You would think, but it’s not.
Though all of those are important topics addressed by the Bible, they are not associated in any way with the most repeated command in the Bible. God’s most frequently repeated instruction is formulated in two simple words:
Wow, would you have guessed that? I didn’t.
Interestingly, the command to “fear not” is repeated in the Bible 365 times – once for every day of the year. Obviously there’s something pretty significant about the limiting power of fear, and by contrast, the expansive power of courage.
There is a human tendency to mistakenly believe that some people are just born courageous, and then there is everyone else. That is just not true! Courage is the result of conscious choices, and is greatly enhanced by a life of vibrant faith.
I am going to spend the next couple of weeks blogging on courage, faith, and fear. Courage is one of the most essential human virtues, and I could make a convincing case that it is at the top of the list of most indispensable qualities for those who want to step into the life that God has created us for.
I hope the content of these posts become as transformational for you as they have been for me. Until then, here are some of my very favorite quotes on courage and fear. Hopefully these will inspire you as we all step into a new year together!
“Our problem is not to be rid of fear but, rather to harness and master it.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but moving forward despite your fears.” — Dr. John Perkins, Founder of the Christian Community Development Association
“Fear and love are enemies. These two spirits will not hold the same place together. Love and fear are like light and dark…fresh water and salt water…blessing and cursing. And one of them has to win.” — Danny Silk, “Building a Culture of Honor”
“For many of us the boundary of our range of action is determined by our ultimate fears… and our fears often remain hidden (even from ourselves) right up to the very moment when we must act.” — Gary Haugen (Founder of International Justice Mission), “Just Courage”
“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” — Jesus of Nazareth, Matthew 14.27
“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” –Maya Angelou
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” — Nelson Mandela
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” — God, Joshua 1.9
And finally, a poem from one of my heroes, Dr. Marian Wright Edelman:
O God, grant us Your vision in our time
Help us to write it so large that even a runner can see it.
Make it so compelling that even a cynic will pause,
so convincing that a skeptic will risk trying to bring hope to others,
and so inspiring that the committed will stand courageously in faith,
leaving the results to you.