Have you ever displayed fear that you knew was founded on cowardice? To know yourself as a coward is to almost loathe oneself. Cowardice is a condition that can only be overcome by courage. Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the overcoming of fear. One of the most recognizable examples of cowardice in the Bible is Peterâ€™s denial of Christ.
â€œNow as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, â€˜You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.â€™ But he denied it, saying, â€˜I neither know nor understand what you are saying.â€™ And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed. And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, â€˜This is one of them.â€™ But he denied it again. And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, â€˜Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.â€™ Then he began to curse and swear, â€˜I do not know this Man of whom you speak!â€™ A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, â€˜Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.â€™ And when he thought about it, he wept.â€ (Mark 14:66-72)
Imagine using profanity in your denial of Jesus Christ. No wonder Peter wept. Peter not only realized that Jesus had rightly predicted his denial, but he also remembered he had profanely denied his Lord. Oh what cowards fear can make us!
We know from the last chapter in the Gospel of John that Jesus restores Peter, however restoration does not always translate into courage. Courage must be displayed when danger and fear are present. It wasnâ€™t until after Jesus has ascended into heaven and the Holy Spirit had indwelled believers that Peter had the reservoir of courage he needed. Then the opportunity presented itself for Peter to turn from a coward to courageous.
â€œAnd it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, â€˜By what power or by what name have you done this?â€™ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, â€˜Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the â€œstone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.â€ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.â€™â€ (Acts 4:5-12)
Peter knew these religious leaders had the power and authority to punish him severely. He had seen it done to Jesus and had denied the Lord because of it. He had also hid out in the Upper Room for days fearing capture. And yet Peter had become courageous. He had the help of the Holy Spirit, but more importantly he had the truth on which to depend.
When we are right with God, when righteousness exalts a man, then no fear shall overcome us. Faith overcomes fear every time.
â€œThe Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.â€ (Psalm 27:1-3)
The love of Christ in our hearts is our wellspring of courage. We can dip into it anytime we need boldness to overcome fear. It is simply faith in a faithful God, a God who loves us so.
â€œLove has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.â€ (1 John 4:17-19)
The last month of 2013 is upon us. The new year is before us. There is an uncertain future before us here on planet Earth. However, for those of us redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, our eternity is sure. The Lord Jesus Christ is our King and we shall serve Him forevermore.
So dear Christian, fear not. Your future is certain.
Dear friend who has yet to give his or her life to Christ; why not do so today and receive a wellspring of courage through the indwelling Holy Spirit?
Iâ€™ll be praying that you do…
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Copyright Â© 2013 David Jeffers