SOME people seem outwardly more courageous than others, and traditional stereotypes in the past would have claimed that men have more physical courage than women. But are we really divided into those who are brave and those who are not? Even those who may have thought of themselves as lacking courage can cultivate that quality as they come to understand the strength with which God fortifies man, His spiritual image. If our actual selfhood is God's expression, His image, as the Bible teaches, it follows that we possess the qualities of our omnipotent creator, such as fearlessness, strength, and wisdom. We have a solid, spiritual basis, then, for finding the courage we need to meet challenges that may face us. To work from this basis is to worship the one God -- to worship Spirit -- in thought and action and to cultivate through prayer the spiritual perceptiveness that discerns His omnipresent care for us and the resources that are ours as His offspring.
The truest courage is born of divine qualities. A blind, unthinking rush to do battle will probably not achieve victory; whereas a calm and unclouded perception of God's infinite goodness and of the consequent fraudulence, even powerlessness, of evil will win the day.
Nor is true courage a stolidity that endures passively. Rather it is an active quality that faces up confidently to pain and fear, bravely denying them legitimacy because they are not of God and inevitably seeing them fade from our consciousness and thus from our experience. This isn't just wishful thinking; it's spiritually based thinking, springing from an understanding that God alone is power, regardless of how things look at the moment.
Daniel needed courage when he decided to disobey the decree that forbade prayer to be made to any god or man other than King Darius.1 He prayed openly to God, and for this he was thrown to the lions. But the Bible doesn't indicate that he was afraid. His divinely impelled courage made possible the silencing of the animals' ferocity. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``Moral courage is `the lion of the tribe of Juda,' the king of the mental realm.''2 The lion of moral courage was the ruling factor in the lions' den, not bestial traits.
We have in the Way-shower, Christ Jesus, the supreme example of fearless living. His resolve to complete his mission in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy was the outcome of his conscious unity with God and of an understanding that God was the source of his strength -- indeed of his very life.
When Jesus was at the point of being arrested in the garden of Gethsemane, he said to one of his disciples: ``Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?''3 He went forward fearlessly to the crucifixion, trusting in his Father to bring him triumphantly through to the ascension, as He did.
Though our circumstances don't begin to parallel those of the Way-shower, we can grow in our understanding of the infinite resources of spiritual strength that were available to him and are available to us as well. We can take our stand, asserting our dominion over fear and lack of confidence. We can do this whether we are male or female, and whether or not we have thought of ourselves as being brave. We can sing in our hearts, Though hosts encamp around me,
Firm in the fight I stand; What terror can confound me,
With God at my right hand?4
1See Daniel 6:1-23. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 514. 3Matthew 26:53, 54. 4Christian Science Hymnal, No. 77.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. Psalms 27:14