Brave and courageous
Brave – what comes to mind when you think of that word? Fearless superheroes who dive into danger without a second thought? Intrepid explorers or daring extreme sports fanatics who face mighty challenges without sweat breaking on their brow?
Courage is often seen as an innate quality. Some people we imagine are just born with it; others are not. Is that so?
Courage is often perceived as the opposite of fear. You can have one or the other, but is that true? Can you be fearful and yet act bravely? Can you shake in your boots and yet do the right thing?
Here is the thing; fear is an emotion, a reaction to danger. Courage is not an emotion but a decision, an act of the will to respond to situations in a particular way. You can be dead scared yet act courageously. Brave is a choice we can make even when we feel emotionally exposed, physically endangered, or threatened.
The Jews had an expression – “to set your face towards”. It meant to resolve to do something, to face up to a challenge, or to stick your head up and do the difficult thing. It’s how Luke describes Jesus in chapter 9:51-56 (our text this week) as he “sets his face” to Jerusalem. Jesus faces the place of rejection, defamation, and execution. We know that the stress of Gethsemane and what lay ahead was immeasurable. We know this meant painful emotion as he endured the cross. Yet he faced up to danger and headed for his destiny. For sure the Son of God, stepping out from the adoration and affection of heaven to be battered beaten, and killed for us is the greatest act of bravery the world has known.
So, what about us?
As his followers how do we face the tough stuff? What makes us brave? This week we are thinking about courage.
- What do you think of when you think of courage?
- Can we learn to be courageous, and how?
What tough stuff do you need to turn your face towards, where can you reinforce your resolve and find courage?
Stay strong, Iain