This blog is to add “One More Thing” or two to Sunday’s message. You can’t always say everything in a message, so the blog is designed to expand on the message. If you weren’t in worship, you can watch the message on Middletown UMC’s Facebook page or listen to it on our website at middletownumc.org.
In my message Sunday I gave a definition of “courage” as the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc. without fear. After the 11:00 service Dean Donohue offered an alternative definition that I like much better. His definition was courage is the strength to face a difficult situation even in the presence of fear. The definition I used indicates that courage replaces fear while Dean’s definition states that even in the presence of fear we can have the strength to act. I obviously didn’t think through my definition sufficiently. Courage doesn’t make fear simply disappear. We may still have a racing heart, sweaty palms, a knot in our stomach, but are still able to take the first difficult steps. If we wait for all feelings of fear to disappear, we may never act.
God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2Tim. 1:7) Our fear comes not from God but from trusting in our own human strength. When we trust only in our own strength and abilities, we have good reason to fear. However, God has given us a spirit of power to stand in the face of fear and do the task before us.
If you are radically rethinking the direction of your life, and you determine your life needs to go in a new direction you will need courage. We cannot face a life changing events without the courage to face down our human fears. An important point to consider, is a new life direction initiated by God or is it just something you want to do. Sometimes it is helpful to at least acknowledge our fears, they may have something important to tell particularly if we are changing direction for selfish reasons. Even when we initiate change fear can be present and when change is thrust upon us, we are more likely to experience fear. Regardless of how life change comes God gives a spirit of power to face down our fears.