How would you define brave? The actual definition sounds scary. It says, “people who are ready to endure or face danger and pain”. Who wants to be ready for that? Would we want to stand before a battle, ready to race toward slashing pain? Would we want to wait patiently to be brought into the operating room? Or would we dare brace ourselves for the harsh pain awaiting for us, because we believed in Jesus?
Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in Danial three. Do you remember Nebuchadnezzer who took over Jerusalem? He made a gold image a hundred feet high for everyone to worship. When the music sounded, all were to bow down in worship. Yet when everyone bowed, three men stood. Shortly thereafter Nebuchadnezzer asked these three again to bow down, yet they refused. With rage Nebuchadnezzer told his men to build the hottest fire a man could make and throw these three into it. Shedrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego stood steadfast, ready to endure the pain awaiting them. Rather than worshiping an image, they willingly let themselves be thrown into a furnace. This fire was so hot that even the soldiers who threw the men into the furnace where killed. Yet these men feared not. No doubt overtook them.
These men chose pain. They were ready to endure the heat of that furnace. They knew God would be with them. They didn’t know that an angle would comfort them. They said, “If we die, then you will still know that we did not bow down to your image.” Just like us they couldn’t tell the future, yet they were confident that God would be with them. Death or victory.
These days, in the U.S, we have freedom of religion. Therefore, occasions such as those are uncommon. But we might choose pain because we’re willing to donate our kidney to someone in need of a kidney transplant. Or we, usually children, choose pain to impress someone. When my brother was four he drank boiling water! He did it to show that he was “brave”. But, in his defense, he was four.
In life, other situations come where we need to be brave. Not all are as serious as life or death, not all are as simple as drinking boiling water, but some are right in the middle. The bravest thing I’ve ever done I think would be publishing a book. I’d say the second most bravest thing I’ve ever done is start my own blog. I write a lot about fear and stepping out of your comfort zone and here I did both–or all three, letting go of fear, stepping out of my comfort zone, and I was brave enough to do it. Even though I had no idea what would occur along the way.
To step from a shy farm girl, to an author was something that I always dreamed of doing, yet when the actual time came that God called me to do it, fear filled every part of me. After all, I was only eighteen, I’d never published anything, I was fresh out of high school, was I ready? Now, trust me, I’m far away from looking back and realizing what I’ve all accomplished. Everyday I’m still working and learning–I’ve only begun to learn! I’ve taken the first step, I’ve broken the fear barrier, I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone, but everyday I have to be brave to continue, even when things don’t look all that good. Trust me it’s still an on going battle. Half the time I don’t feel ready. Fear does kick in at times, but with God we can let go and face our fear.
I remind myself of this when things begin to tilt. Here is what I literally tell myself when I feel to naive or discouraged: “I know God wants me to do this and He will guide my steps, I am smart and I am capable. Through Christ I can do this. He will make me brave. I am fearless . . . through him.” I dare you to do the same for yourself. Take my saying or make your own and tell yourself that every time you feel discouraged.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NKJV
When we feel discouraged we can remember that God is with us and He makes us brave. If you feel God is calling you to do something or you have a passion inside of you to do something great, do it. Be brave through Christ and do it. Whether your dream is to become an artist, a doctor, a song writer, or to do something amazing in your school, to encourage others–whatever it may be. The timing might not be perfect or you might not have everything for it, but if you have a dream and you feel God is calling you to do it, be brave and step forward.
At any age, no matter what we’re doing we’re going to feel discouraged at times, we’re going to feel naive–now I won’t say this to strongly, because some of you may have never doubted something you were completely sure of. But usually–I know this happens to me–even though I know in my heart that I’m doing the right thing, that this is where God want’s me, this little voice inside me questions it. However, I’ve come to realize this is usually because it’s something new. I’m nervous and scared, yet during these times we have to remember we are brave, we can do this.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Frankly we might not be brave, we might shiver at the thought of it. But if we tell ourselves over and over we’re going to be brave, we might just use that “going to” for an excuse. Like “I will yet, I’ll get there.” But when we say, “I am brave through Jesus,” then our shivering body might just turn into a powerful and brave soul. Because we believe Jesus makes us brave.
If you remember the ending to the story of the fiery furnace, then you know that not a hair on their head was singed. They knew not what the future held, but they knew God would be with them. They did not fear the turn out. They did not hold back because of fear, they believed in God. That He would not leave them! Death or victory, they faced that fire with bravery. And so can you. So can I. So can we.
The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions. Proverbs 28:1 NLT