Am I courageous or cowardly? This thought often swiftly dashes across my brain throughout my Christian walk of life. I often think up scenarios that put me in situations of immediate danger and ponder at what I would do. There is always the classic: “A terrorist walks into the church building with a gun and I have to make a decision if I will attack him or run and cower.” On the other hand, here recently I have been trying to apply this in a more realistic sense. I understand that the scenario mentioned above could happen and in some parts of the world may be more likely to happen, but I feel as of now that the chances are fairly slim in my case. The point of this article is to get you and I to examine ourselves to see if we are spiritual cowards or courageous saints. Am I like Daniel who overcame seemingly the toughest of situations with unwavering faith or am I like Peter when he denied the Lord three times for fear of what might happen to him (Matt. 26:33-34, 69-75). Yes, Peter went on to have great faith in the Lord and even as history tells us died a martyrs death. Faced with the same situation many of us, if not all, I believe would have felt the heart piercing crow of the cock just as Peter did.
Nevertheless, I want us to bring this down to the “ordinary” Christian scale on which most of us probably consider ourselves. I have come to realize that Daniel never did anything overly amazing himself. Daniel just kept the faith and practiced courageousness in the so-called small things. Think about it, Daniel was cast into the lion’s den simply because he continued praying like he had before. It was God who was doing great things like shutting the mouths of the lions (Daniel 6). I believe that if we look at the Scriptures carefully we will see that in most instances those great men and women of faith just did all the “simple” things faithfully and God did the great things. For instance if we look closely at the “Hall of Fame of Faith” in Hebrews 11 we will see men and women doing the “simple” things and God doing great things. Abel was killed because he worshiped God in spirit and in truth (Heb. 11:4). Noah moved with fear and built an arc of gopher wood (11:7). Abraham was told to go and he went (11:8). Sara believed God to be faithful (11:11). Moses’ parents feared God and not man (11:23). Moses took a pay cut (11:24-26). The Israelites walked in circles for seven days (11:30). Rahab welcomed into her home children of God (11:31). My point in listing these faithful men and women was not to undermine their great faith, but to show that such faith is attainable for the “ordinary” Christian. They simply did the “small” things faithfully and courageously, trusting God to do the “big” things. Do not the Scriptures teach that it is God who is great and mighty? Was it not Jesus that overcame the world (John 16:33) and is it not Jesus who gives us strength to do all things (Phil. 4:13)? The fact of the matter is that God does not place on us some great burden. It was Jesus who said, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:30). God simply requires that we be faithful to Him by doing the basic things that He asks us to do and He will do the great things.
Moreover, are we doing the basic things like praying for all things, teaching the gospel, having godly conduct at home and in the workplace, having Bible studies with my family, telling the truth, dressing modest, being faithful to my spouse, loving our fellow man, abstaining from the use of filthy language and helping out at church functions? None of these things are unattainable in life, but sometimes we treat them as such. We do not have to be faced with physical life or death situations to determine if we can be courageous saints. As the old saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” We should practice being courageous in these “small” matters so that we may be better prepared for days of tribulation and hardship.
Remember, that it is God who does the great things and we need to leave that to Him. Many times we try to do the work of God and fail at doing what He actually asks us to do. Likewise, we should remember it was Jesus that walked on the water and when Peter tried to do the same he quickly realized that he needed to leave that up to Jesus (Matt. 14:25-31). God does not require that we walk on water, but that we be courageous enough to do the little things that He asks of us. Jesus said in a parable concerning the kingdom of Heaven, “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matt. 25:21). If we are humbly faithful over the few things God has set forth for us to do, then we too one day will hear those wonderful words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
We can have courage in doing these “simple” things knowing that the Almighty God is watching over each thing we do. Concerning the salvation of man, the teacher and preacher are to simply take the gospel to the world. It is God who does the great things in the salvation of man. It was Jesus who went to the cross and died for the salvation of the world (1 John 2:1-2; 4:14). It is God that cleanses the sinner of his sins through the blood of Christ (Rev. 1:5). We must simply be willing to do what God says to do and leave the hard stuff up to Him. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). Just doing what God says makes us courageous and puts us in the company of those written about in Hebrews 11.