Courage is a funny thing. Some see it as bold, or daring. Some see it as the characteristic of one who is willing to take a chance or to embark on some grand adventure that appears risky (i.e. sky-diving or rock climbing), while others would call it crazy. Irresponsible even.
When I read Proverbs 28 I see something very different:
“The wicked flee when no one is pursuing them; but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1
Courage in the Bible is so much more than being brave. It involves trust, discernment, integrity and even humility. While much of the world sees humility as a weakness, God reminds us throughout Scripture that humility is a strength.
“Happy is the one who is always reverent, but one who hardens his heart will fall into trouble.” Proverbs 28:14
Reverence, or respect implies not just our position in relation to a Holy God, but also our attitude in relationship with others. Proverbs 28 shares wisdom regarding justice and poverty, integrity and righteousness, wealth and greed–all of which involve perspective. How we view ourselves will affect our attitude toward God and others:
“The one who trusts in himself is a fool, but one who walks in wisdom will be safe.” Proverbs 28:26
The encouragement I see here is that real courage is not conjured up. The godly form of boldness or courage comes as we trust the Lord to give us the wisdom to know when we are to step out in patient pursuit or jump in with abandon. Whether we are embarking on a new adventure or we are waiting in obedience, having the courage to do the right thing comes by faith. Trusting that God is big enough to open or close a door of opportunity and powerful enough to orchestrate our circumstances in a way that would honor Him.
I consider myself a friendly introvert. I find it easy to love most people and I alway try to remember that I don’t always know their story. Assuming the best in people has gone a long way in giving me a heart of compassion. While I might not always be on the lookout or see opportunities that God is placing in my path, I do want to be brave enough to pursue them when they come.
My bucket list isn’t full of things like cliff diving or climbing Mt. Everest, but I do want to be willing to go the extra mile–or across the street if God leads me to. While traveling across the world to participate in hands-on missions may seem bold, sometimes the hardest thing I can do is be sensitive to the everyday needs around me. “Walk in Wisdom” is a phrase I want to remember from Proverbs 28–a great reminder that wisdom is not how much truth we know, but how much we obey.
What steps are you taking to “walk in wisdom”? Reading God’s word is the only way to fill your heart and mind with truth; bold faith comes when we are willing to put into practice what we have learned.
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