These are two powerful words–faith and courage. I’ve talked with tens of thousands of people over the years, and the most common thing I hear is this: “If only I had more faith and courage, I could beat this fear and anxiety.”
To start with, what is your definition of faith? Really think about it for a moment. How would you define it? It’s probably very similar to this definition I found on the Internet: “The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God.”
“Secure belief in God.” That really sums up how most of us perceive faith. “If I can just have more faith, a more secure belief in God, then I can beat this thing.”
But, my definition of faith is quite different. Faith is not our ability to muster up enough “belief” in something so that God will act. No. That may be “faith” to some people, but not to me. Here’s my definition of faith: “Faith is how you respond or react when everything else around you comes crashing in. Faith is choosing to believe in God despite your feelings.”
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith like this: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for.” Yes, faith is rooted in hope–hope for peace, hope for rest, hope for eternal life. Faith is also “the evidence of things not seen”. When fear comes crashing in and nothing seems to be going our way, true faith says this, “Although I can not understand what is happening to me, I choose to trust God. God promises me that he will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). Therefore, I choose to respond to God, not to the fear.” Now, that’s faith!
Courage is very similar. The world sees courage as strong, bold and fearless. In that same online dictionary, I found this definition of courage: “The state of mind that enables one to face danger or fear.”
Again, like faith, my definition of courage is not the same. If I had a strong “state of mind” to face the fear, then it’s not really courage. Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is how you respond in the face of fear. If you were not afraid, then you would not need courage.
Faith and courage are choices you make.
“So, be strong and take courage, all you who put your hope in the Lord!” (Psalms 31:24).
Prayer: Lord, today I choose to believe that you are on my side, fighting for me, giving me the strength I need to stand against the fear and panic. I choose to trust you. I take courage in you, Father.