Courage is an integral part of a life of faith, a component we are reminded of through the life of Christ and the apostles. Their many acts of grace and mercy required courage, so they could lead extraordinarily different lives than those around them—giving up their everyday lives to follow Jesus, striving for a daily focus on God and good works based in faith. We need courage, too, to live a Christian life, and ultimately to be the agents of God’s love, light, and truth.
It can be a challenge to summon what’s needed to take risks, make sacrifices, face difficulty with faith, and be focused on the needs of others. But the fruits of fortitude, perseverance, and strength feed our ability to develop new strengths, face things that can seem insurmountable at first, and cultivate a confidence in our own courage for when it is needed again (and we know it will be needed again, and again). Courage in the face of adversity is not easy, but it usually has a cumulative effect. The more courageous we are today—experiencing the strength courage nurtures—the more increasingly courageous we are likely to be tomorrow.
Certain aspects of human nature can drain us of courage. Common examples are cynicism, when we seem to be compelled to see the worst in people and situations; material excess, which opposes our call to sacrifice for others in need and places a priority on the comfort of things; and fear, which clouds our balance and often steers us to be more timid, closed-off, or aggressive than courageous. A focus on and trust in God helps keep these negatives at bay, allowing us to recognize and then draw more readily on the courage that is very much within us.
The gift of courage—a blessing God gives us all—enables us to live larger, more hopeful, and energetically faithful lives.
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline."