Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.
Whatever God has said to you, do it.
My mother and My brothers are these who hear the Word of God and do it.
Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the Kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus.
Our world searches for heroes. If we are Christians, He is found, and His Name is Jesus. He is the Author of courage. The dictionary calls courage 'The power or quality of dealing with or facing danger, fear, pain, etc; the confidence to act in accordance with one's beliefs.' Courage comes from a Latin word, 'cor,' meaning 'heart.' *
Courage is facing fear with heart. Courage is running toward Goliath, entering a furnace or a lion's den. Courage is speaking against evil and turning the other cheek. Courage is standing out when most people are blending in; it's walking forward when most people are sitting still. It's the resistance of peer pressure.
Courage is trusting God with small odds because God loves a long shot. Courage is laying down your life and picking up your cross, because Jesus did it first--and won. We will win, too.
Esther risked her life to seek her king. She exposed her identity to save her people. She wagered her reputation to establish God's reputation. Because before she risked it all, Esther had it all: freedom, wealth and power.
In Jesus' day, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had even more: freedom, wealth and power--plus a new plan of salvation. As secret followers of Jesus, they maintained dual citizenship for a time: living in their ways and His way.
But after His death, they exposed their love for Him. They risked it all when they took Him from the Cross.
Actors, models and talent for Christ in America: Many of you are comfortable with dual citizenship (the kingdoms of Heaven and man). Compared to the rest of the world, you have it all: freedom, wealth and power--plus a secret plan of salvation.
But God is calling you out of your quiet zone. He's calling you out of dual citizenship... because you aren't really citizens of this world anyway--only His ambassadors within it. The time is now to step forward in the courage of your convictions and the riches of His talents.
If you're scared, I understand. Even better, God understands. But remember what He said to Joshua who faced the prospects of war. Basically, God gave him the same message seven times:
'Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go' (Joshua 1:9. See also Joshua 1:6,7,18 and Deuteronomy 31:6,7,23).
Even better, we don't have to do what Joshua did--because Jesus won the war. All we have to do is spread the good news.
To Be Continued...
* The definition of courage comes from the Collins English Dictionary. The definition of cor comes from the Latin to English Dictionary: http://www.latin-dictionary.net/search/latin/cor
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Beautiful Like Esther series.