Saturday, March 5, 2016

“The Courage of Conviction”

  "The Courage of Conviction"

   Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
(Psalm 31:24)
   Our memory verse this week references courage, commanding us to to "be of" it.  Strength from God is promised as we obey the mandate, which almost seems counterintuitive.  Don't we first need Divine enabling in order to experience courage?

    The answer speaks to the Biblical definition of courage, which interestingly, presents itself in the selfsame verse - "All ye that hope in the Lord."  Courage in the believer's heart results from determination, both God's and ours.  First, our Lord chooses to be all that we need Him to be.  He also reveals in Scripture the determination to serve as the very Life of our lives.  We then respond to such assurance by choosing to hope in God and His promises.  This elicits strength in our hearts, the strength of conviction whereby we affirm, "I will hope continually" (Psalm 71:14).  Note that we suggest conviction rather than emotion.  Courage and feeling often conflict.  Many of the bravest acts in human history were performed by souls that felt great longing to flee rather than face challenges and danger.  "I will" - God's "I will" - unites with our own "I will hope", based upon the conviction resulting from exposure to His truth.

   It is hard but necessary Biblical truth to realize and embrace.  Living in fear reveals weakness in our conviction regarding God and His truth.  Such weakness itself results from not realizing the true nature of courage.  Courage, as defined by Scripture, is the choice to hope in the Lord.  In most cases, it won't immediately, if ever, be accompanied by emotion.  We presently "walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7).  One does not need to feel in order to choose confidence in God.  One needs rather to believe.  Great strength, the very power of God, results in the heart and the hands of those who make the brave choice to trust the Lord in the face of contrary evidence, circumstance, and indeed, emotion.  Note also in our previous reference that the Psalmist confessed that he would "hope continually".  Courage involves a walk rather than a step.  An altar exists in the hearts of believers, an altar of grace and faith that we must frequently visit in order to continue in confidence.  Thereupon, God's "I will" meets with our "I will" to ignite and fuel in us the confidence of conviction, based upon the faithfulness of determination, God's determination to be all that we need Him to be.

"My expectation is from Him."
(Psalm 62:5)
"Wait on the Lord.  Be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart.  Wait, I say, on the Lord."
(Psalm 27:14)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
(Psalm 31:24)

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