I was helping my son complete a reading assignment the other night and the story had these subtitles: How to be brave; how to be pure; how to be true. I thought to myself, how many of us need to know that answer? How often are we panicked and fearful, not brave? How often are we defiled and not pure through our words and actions? How often are we fake, false and not true to who we were created to be? Friends, just how often? Would it not be nice to know just how to be brave when you are timid or how to be pure and not impure or how to be true not false. Let us take a few minutes and dive into these things.
How to be brave.
When I think about bravery, I of course being a woman, think of a knight and shining armor. A man clothed in shiny armor ready to battle the evil forces that lurk. However, I also think of the woman who has the diagnosis of cancer and dresses everyday ready to battle fatigue, pain and nausea. Or the mother who is watching a child undergo chemotherapy as well as the mom who faces the new day still mourning the loss of a child that left this world what seems in our minds before his/her time.
Bravery is someone who is courageous; someone who stands up against the odds, against people that say it cannot be done or forces that want to limit us in our current situation causing us to retreat. A person of bravery is one that demonstrates valor; one who faces a situation with determination that can be of great danger or might I add end in an undesirable events. But, is it not comforting to know that we do not have to be brave alone. We have a Savior that has created all and defeated all and that which is evil must come under his authority. While the circumstances, the limitations and the walls seems to be pressing in on us from every side, Jesus says, hold on, I am coming with you; together we can do this! Bravery is sometimes taking the courage and accepting the hand of another to help hold you up along the way.
So how do we become brave?
1) Trust in God and ask him to help you.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)
Trust in Jesus with all your heart – not pieces of it, not parts of the situation that is mounting or circumstances that are dim – with all of it every single piece of it. Jesus wants the raw you to just call out to him and to trust him to help you; you do not have to face it alone, you do not have to figure it out. Jesus says, just trust me, lean on me, let me direct you; let me show you the way. Let us do this together. Whew, if you and I could get that 100%, we could face more with bravery than timidity.
2) Praise God and tell him, “Thank You.”
“O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known his doings among the peoples.” 1 Chronicles 16:8
Be sure to thank God for being with you. Thank him for never leaving you or forsaking you (Hebrews 13:5) that he is always present in your times of happiness and trouble. Let him know how grateful you are for his steadfast, unconditional love.
“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way that God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
3) Fear not, for God is with you.
“Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.” Isaiah 41:10
How to be True.
Love God. Love him with all your heart. Love him when you feel like it and love him when you do not. Love him when you like what you are facing and love him when you despise what you are facing. No matter what comes in your path, God loves you. He does not turn his love on and off like a faucet and love you one day and not the next. Love him the same. His love is unconditional. Whether you choose to love him, he still loves you. Let us adapt that kind of love in our hearts, demonstrate that in our lives and in our relationship with Jesus.
Do God’s will. Each one of you has been designed with a specific purpose (Ephesians 2:10). Not one of you has been formed without an assigned task. God knew exactly what he was doing when he formed you in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13). He knows exactly the numbers of hair on your head (Luke 12:7, Matthew 10:30), he knew your birth date and he knows your death date. Do not hesitate in doing what he has created you to do. Go and be discipled and make disciples (Matthew 28:16-20). Go and share the good news of Jesus. Go and love others. Do not waste time. Our days our numbered (Psalm 139:16) and are but a vapor, one day we are here and the next we are gone. Friends, one day we will stand before the king of all kings and he will look at our life to see if we have done what he created us to do. Let us not waste another moment, but instead fuel each moment to help us complete the purpose and plan for our lives that ultimately bring others to Christ. Let his light shine before all men (Matthew 5:16) in all that we say or do.
How else to be true then do what he commanded Moses and the Israelites in the Book of Exodus chapter 20:
“THEN GOD spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, Who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before or besides Me. You shall not make yourself any graven image [to worship it] or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; You shall not bow down yourself to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me. But showing mercy and steadfast love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not use or repeat the name of the Lord your God in vain [that is, lightly or frivolously, in false affirmations or profanely]; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. [Earnestly] remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (withdrawn from common employment and dedicated to God). Six days you shall labor and do all your work, But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your domestic animals, or the sojourner within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it [set it apart for His purposes]. Regard (treat with honor, due obedience, and courtesy) your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land the Lord your God gives you. You shall not commit murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not witness falsely against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:1-17)
Remember daily to take time to pray and ask God to help you to be the best that you can be despite situations, despite shortcomings, despite fault finders – ask God to help you live your life according to his Word; read his word and invite him to be an intimate part of your life everyday, not just in hard times, not just in sorrowful times, but in joyful times and stormy times. God wants to be involved in all of your comings and goings.
How to be Pure.
We cannot be pure if we do not know God’s Word. To many of us, reading can be more of a duty or task. Some, find it to mind boggling or claim it is to hard to understand, but I would like to submit to you that it is a vital part of your daily nourishment for your spiritual man – mind blowing or not. Without the word, it would be equivalent to dehydrating your physical man. You can only live days without water; I submit to you that you can only live days without the LIVING water. Without God’s word in your heart, it will be hard to live a pure life. His word is our compass, his word is our sword, his word gives breath to life and keeps our feet walking the narrow path.
If we do not hide his word in our heart, how will we flee from evil? How will we identify what is true, what is lovely and pure? How can we become more like Jesus if we do not know what Jesus is like? The Word of God is a life line for us as we face each day. It is a like a checks and balance system that helps us to choose to do what is right and flee from what is wrong. A child only learns what is wrong by when a parent corrects them and tells them. We only learn what is wrong when we read the word and allow God our Father to correct us and tell us what is wrong and displeasing or shall I say impure.
When we follow his Word and remain true to his Word, then we can shine like the stars, be brave and face another day, remain true to our calling and in our following of Jesus.
“Shun youthful lusts and flee from them, and aim at and pursue righteousness (all that is virtuous and good, right living, conformity to the will of God in thought, word, and deed); [and aim at and pursue] faith, love, [and] peace (harmony and concord with others) in fellowship with all [Christians], who call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22, Amplified Bible.