Prayer Focus for January 2015
‘Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong’ (1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV).
The Bible has much to say about courage – to have courage, to take courage. It is a form of encouragement to be strong and not to be afraid. The Lord told Joshua many times to be strong and courageous – see Deuteronomy chapter 31 verses 6 and 23. In the first chapter of Joshua, the Lord told Joshua three times to be strong and have courage – verses 6, 9 and 18 – three times in one chapter!
As Christians, why should we have courage and be strong as opposed to being fearful and weak?
Because of his boundless promises to be with us – God himself is with us, his power is within us. He has promised never to leave us alone – to be always with us wherever we go and to go before us, to carry us. And so he commands us not to be weak, not to be fearful, not to be unsure about whether or not he is with us. It is almost as if we are wired to be afraid. But that is not how God would have us live in him.
In speaking to the Corinthian church, Paul calls for Christians to be on their guard, to stand firm in the faith, to be courageous and strong. It not a call about being foolish, but it is a call to bring out God’s best in us. It is not a call for the strength we can muster, but a call to rely on the strength that Jesus, the living Saviour, gives to us. It is not a call because we are full of self, but a call because we are filled with the Spirit if Christ lives in us (Colossians 2:9, 10).
Sometimes we fear and lack courage – but it is then that God’s grace abounds in us. He can provide boundless courage because he is faithful to his promises. If you fear and lack courage, ask the Lord to strengthen you and he will.
What is it that you need courage for? To share the gospel with friends, co-workers, even family?
To keep going despite the difficulties you are experiencing?
To be brave enough to do what is right – even in the face of ridicule – in your current area of leadership?
Ask the Lord for courage in your situation; for as he said to Moses and Joshua: ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you’ (Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV).