WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
MARCH 2, 2021
TOPIC: BE OF GOOD COURAGE
BY T. O. BANSO
“Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus” (Mark 15:43-44 New King James Version).
Faith and courage are two closely related Bible concepts. Faith is defined as, “A belief in or confident attitude toward God, involving commitment to His will for one’s life” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary).
The same dictionary defines courage as, “The strength of purpose that enables one to withstand fear or difficulty.” According to the Oxford Leaner’s Dictionaries, courage is “the ability to do something dangerous, or to face pain or opposition, without showing fear.” The difference between faith and courage is not easily understood by some people but it may be safe to say that courage is faith in action. Courage is a manifestation of faith.
Faith is important in our walk as Christians. So is courage. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). The Bible says without faith, it is impossible to please God (verse 6). But faith without corresponding action is dead (James 2:20). We need faith and we need courage to do what God has asked us to God or what we believe He wants us to do in spite of fear and difficulties.
Just as the Bible talks about having faith, it also talks about being of good courage, taking courage, or being courageous. However, one can be courageous or be of good courage to do what is right or what is wrong, what is good or what is evil. Children of God must always act courageously to do what is right according to the Word of God.
In 2 Samuel 13, when Absalom wanted to kill Amnon, his brother, to avenge the rape of his sister, he commanded his servants to be courageous and strike him. “Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, ‘Watch now, when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, ‘Strike Amnon!’ then kill him. Do not be afraid. Have I not commanded you? Be courageous and valiant.’ So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and each one got on his mule and fled” (verses 28-29 New King James Version).
Children of God must not be courageous to do evil. God will not tell you to be of good courage or take courage to do evil but only what is good. In Joshua 1, after the death of Moses, God commissioned Joshua to lead his people. Before his death, Moses had presented Joshua to the Israelites as his successor as he was commanded by the LORD (Numbers 27:18-23).
After Moses’ death, it appeared that Joshua was afraid to take over. Joshua could possibly be wondering where and how to start! Three times in Joshua 1, God told Joshua to be strong and courageous – verses 6, 7, and 9. That tells us that God knew Joshua was lacking this or would need it, and you cannot blame Joshua. His boss who was so close to God that God spoke with him face to face (Numbers 12:8) could not succeed in taking the Israelites to the Promised Land. He might have wondered how he would make it. But God told him that he should be strong and courageous to face the challenges.
In verse 18, the officers of the people also told him a similar thing: “Whoever rebels against your command and does not heed your words, in all that you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and of good courage” (New King James Version). Joshua took up the challenge, and God fulfilled His promise that He would magnify him in the sight of all Israel, that they might know that, as He was with Moses, so He would be with Him (Joshua 3:7).
You, too, must be of good courage to do what is God’s will for you. You’ve got to take courage to fulfill your assignment. Take courage; don’t be afraid. David says, “Wait for Jehovah: be strong, and let thy heart take courage; yea, wait thou for Jehovah” (Psalm 27:14 American Standard Version). Similarly, He says in Psalm 31:24, “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all ye that hope in Jehovah” (American Standard Version).
Servants of God and the people they lead must be of good courage. They must be courageous to do their duties. In 2 Chronicles 19:8, King Jehoshaphat of Judah appointed some of the Levites and priests and clan leaders in Israel to serve as judges in Jerusalem for cases concerning both the law of the LORD and civil disputes. In verse 11b, he told them, “Take courage as you fulfill your duties, and may the LORD be with those who do what is right” (New Living Translation).
You need courage to do the work of God. Take courage; be courageous. “But now take courage, Zerubbabel, says the LORD. Take courage, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Take courage, all you people still left in the land, says the LORD. Take courage and work, for I am with you, says the LORD Almighty” (Haggai 2:4 New Living Translation).
In Ezra 10:4, Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, told Ezra, “Take courage, for it is your duty to tell us how to proceed in setting things straight, and we will cooperate fully” (New Living Translation). I pray you will take courage to do your duty. You must take courage to lead and tell your followers what to do.
One of the things David told Solomon as David’s death was approaching was, “I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man” (1 Kings 2:2 New Living Translation). This was important because he needed to obey each of the laws, commands, regulations, and stipulations written in the Law of Moses so that he would be successful in all he did and wherever he went.
Furthermore, some decisions are not easy to make. Sometimes, you need courage to make the right choices. The Bible says, “Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus” (Mark 15:43-44 New King James Version). Take note of that phrase, “taking courage”.
Joseph of Arimathea, a secret disciple of Jesus (John 19:38), a prominent member of the Jewish High Council, the Sanhedrin (Mark 15:43), refused to support the Council in their decision to condemn Jesus to be crucified. As if it was not enough risk to hold a minority position, he took courage to ask Pilate for the body of Jesus and went to bury Him (Luke 23:52-54; Mark 15:43-46; John 19:38). Don’t forget that Jesus was crucified on a charge of treason. Nevertheless, Joseph of Arimathea took a risk. He made himself vulnerable to possible attacks from his colleagues, other Jews, and the Roman government for associating himself with a ‘criminal’ executed for treason.
Maybe it was the courage he took that also influenced Nicodemus, apparently another secret disciple of Jesus (John 3) and fellow Council member to come out to bury Jesus’ body. Nicodemus had, in John 7:51, spoken in favour of Jesus, saying, “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” (New King James Version).
Nicodemus, obviously, did not support the conviction of Jesus by the Jewish High Council. He joined Joseph Arimathea to give Jesus’ body a befitting burial. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds, and both of them wrapped Jesus’ body in a long linen cloth with the spices according to the Jewish custom of burial (John 19:38-40). Be courageous to do what is right.
Be of good courage. Don’t fear the enemy. Philippians 1:28 says, “Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself” (New Living Translation). If you allow the devil to make you live in fear, he has defeated you. The Bible says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 New King James Version).
In Acts 27:22-26, Paul encouraged the 275 persons on the ship with him: “But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. But we will be shipwrecked on an island” (New Living Translation). Take courage – be courageous.
Take courage. Even as you await the return of Jesus Christ, you must take courage. The apostle James says, “You, too, must be patient. And take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near” (James 5:8 New Living Translation). Be of good courage.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I shall take courage to do what God has asked me or wants me to do in spite of fear and difficulties. I shall not be afraid of the enemy but I shall be of good courage. I have courage to make the right decisions and do what is right in Jesus’ name. Holy Spirit, help me to be patient and take courage, as the coming of the Lord is near.
(For over 400 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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