COURAGE (Joshua 1:9)
What do you afraid of?
What do you scared of?
We all have something that is holding us back.
We all have something that we feared.
But what if you cross to that one life changing moment.
A moment of courage.
A moment where you can take your leap of faith.
A moment of strength.
A moment shared between you and God.
Read Joshua 1:9. I think when God said, “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged!” God really understand that Joshua, as other human being also experienced fear in his life. And I believe each and every one of us who come to this place also have fear and have something that we are afraid of. For some it could be fear of talking to someone new, or even talking to a boy/girl. Others have another kind of fear, it could be animals, plants, places, or even something that you couldn’t see it, yet, like our future.
In this Christmas season I want us to look back to the people from the First Christmas. It was far than what we have today. There is no band, there is no big feast, and there is no fancy infrastructure like electricity, roads, or internet. But what I want to show is how courageous they are in the midst of pressure.
But let me back to the definition of the word “courage”. In one simple sentence, courage is persistence, perseverance even though there is a reason to fear. So, you know exactly that you fear something, but you choose not to give up to your fear. Courage itself could be a physical courage, moral courage, or psychological courage.
And we always admire people who show courage. That’s why we love movies about heroes or super-heroes. From Robin Hood to Harry Potter, or Spiderman to Captain America. I love movies, even though I don’t go to cinema any more. And I don’t against you to watch movies, but please watch it with discernments. Because “good and fascinating” not always reflect Godly thing. Satan in that garden was enticing people with something “good and fascinating” (the forbidden fruit), but by the act of eating it, Adam and Eve against God’s will. They are become unfaithful to The Word.
If you read the book of Matthew, in the first chapter you will find a list of pre-Christmas biblical figures. Matthew 1:1-17. This genealogy of Jesus, doesn’t appear in other books who write about Jesus (Mark, Luke, John). Matthew put this in perspective of Jesus as The King. The genealogy shows that HE is from the line of David, as prophesies from Old Testament. I don’t have enough time to mention them one by one and tell you their stories. And each one of them did a courageous act, their stories lead us to the Christmas’ main characters.
Mary. Matthew 1:18. Story about Mary with more details is in Luke 1:26-38. When I compared verses in Matthew and Luke, one important biblical value that popped out was about marriage.
Being engage with someone doesn’t mean you can give away your virginity. Either you are male or female. There is a false thinking or false value that growing among the young people that you have to be a cool kid. Cool kids, they are kissing, they are having sex. Let me tell you about these things from my last seminar with High School Students in Bandung. It’s easy to grab someone who think they want to do these things. But it’s hard, it needs courage to keep yourself from doing that. Moreover if there is a fear of rejection or a “mark” that you are “weird” and “not-cool”. Matthew 16:26.
The second person who showed his courage in Christmas story is Joseph. Matthew 1:19-21. What is it like if you’ve found out your significant other in a condition that will most likely break your heart? Could you courageously showing him or her an act of love?
It is easy though to show love when him or her having birthday or graduation. But where are you they are in difficult situation? Where are you when you suspect them become unfaithful? I am standing here and speak to you not about a world in the land of dream, whereas everything goes smooth like cutting butter with a hot knife. I am standing here and talking to you about the world we are living now. A world whereas love for the money replacing the love for family and God. A world where parents can divorced and left their children shattered. Or if they are not divorced, they become unfaithful to each other, and leave a bad example behind them.
I have seen young guys and girls, doing horrendous thing for the sake of love or fame. This is the world where the devil and his crafty evil plans try to rip you apart! The next generation of these last days. The devil will try that with your family, with your close friends, with all of your significant others. But the question is could you still say “I love you, God loves you, but we hate your sin!” Or you just keep that hatred in your heart to them and to God. An act of love needs a courageous heart.
Now you imagine Joseph. He is a good and noble guy but he heard the news about his fiancée who got pregnant before they are getting married. WWJD? What Would Joseph Do? Posting a status: UNFAITHFUL! Or an instapicture with caption: “all women is cheater”? No, he tried to compose himself and still showing his love and respect to Mary by divorced her in a quiet. Even though he has the right to do it publicly. You know sometimes courage is shown in a closed door, love is not only about affection, but also a courageous act. When you release forgiveness to someone and wishing them all the best, you show them that you are courageous person.
Courage and cowardice are separate from character and will. If you know, someone’s character is most likely come from his habit. That’s why I do believe courage is not a character. Courage comes from a source beyond ourselves and it comes from what we really believe in. Fear can be recognized from these things: physiological arousal, subjective reactivity and behavioural avoidance. So, if at least 2 of above indicators showed, you can say that you are gripped by fear.
In such condition you feel that you are losing meaning, you feel insignificant. But listen this, your value, your meaning in this life is lay within the love that you have, not in love others don’t have. 1Corinthians 13:2. If you still remember the story of Joseph, do you remember who gave encouragement to Joseph to take Mary as his wife? An angel. Now let’s forward our time capsule 33 years after that Angel came to meet Joseph, an angel also appeared to Jesus in His final hour at Gethsemane. Luke 22:43. What I can say, that was the appearance of the person Holy Spirit, the helping Spirit of God, like what Jesus had said in John 14:16-17.
At the end of this sermon, I want you to know that there are 3 pairs of significant threats in psychology that could cause you to lose courage. They are:
- Fate & Death
- Meaningless & Despair
- Guilt & Sin
The first two have been covered in the story of the first Christmas that I just told you in the last 50 minutes. But, now you could be feeling guilty, you have sinned before God. BUT, listen to this, your sin was the very reason Jesus came to this earth nearly 2000 years ago. He was coming not only to become another historical figure of the past. This day could be your very First Christmas, or it could be one from dozens time you attend Christmas service. No matter what, His coming is a personal approach. He is standing right in front of your heart, saying: “Be strong, take courage, for I love you so, and you are not alone.” Invite Jesus into your heart, invite Holy Spirit to guide you and to give you courage that you need.