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Faith and Courage
Bible study on faith and courage.

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb. 11:1). Courage is the ability to do something that frightens us.

There is a direct link between faith and courage. If our faith is strong, we'll be strong and courageous. But if our faith is weak, we'll lack the courage we need to stand strong as God's children.

Last Sunday we used Joshua as an example of someone who was courageous because of his faith. And we sang the song, "Dare To Stand Like Joshua" to admonish us to be strong and take courage, just as God commanded Joshua.

Long before Joshua became the leader of God's people, he had a strong faith based on God's word, as demonstrated by the good report he gave regarding their ability to conquer inhabitants of the Promised Land.

Joshua's strong faith resulted in the courage to overcome his fears.

For the remainder of this article, we examine three of Jesus' teaching in which he uses the phrase "little faith" to learn more about faith and courage.

Strong Faith: Not Afraid
The story of Jesus asleep on a boat when awakened by His disciples during a storm, shows us that fear can be the result of weak faith.

  • "When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, Save us, Lord; we are perishing!' He said to them, 'Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?' Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, 'What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him'" (Matt. 8:23-27)?

Observe the difference between Jesus and the disciples. Jesus was not afraid, but the disciples were so afraid, they thought they were perishing.

Why were the disciples afraid? They had little faith.

Strong Faith: Not Doubt
On another occasion, the disciples were in a boat during a storm and Jesus passed by them while walking on the water. The disciples were afraid and Jesus commanded them to take courage.

  • "When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, 'It is a ghost!' And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid'" (Matt. 14:26-27).

Then, Peter walked on the water with Jesus. Everything was fine until he was frightened by the wind, then he began to sink.

  • "Peter said to Him, 'Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.' And He said, 'Come!' And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, 'Lord, save me!' Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, 'You of little faith, why did you doubt?' When they got into the boat, the wind stopped" (Matt. 14:28-32).

Why was Peter afraid? And why did he begin the sick? He had little faith.

Strong Faith: Not Worry About Life
During the sermon on the mount, Jesus commands His disciples not to worry about the necessities of life.

  • "'For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing'" (Matt. 6:25)?

Rather than worrying about life, we seek first God's kingdom and His righteousness, and trust Him to supply us with everything we need.

  • "'Do not worry then, saying, "What will we eat?" or "What will we drink?" or "What will we wear for clothing?" For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you'" (Matt. 6:31-33).

But if, by chance, we are worried about life's necessities, it's because we have little faith.

  • "'And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith'" (Matt. 6:28-30)!

Why do people worry about the necessities of life? And why don't they put God first? They have little, or no, faith.

As Christians, God is first in our lives because of our strong faith based on God's word.

  • "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Rom. 10:17).
  • "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Rom. 1:16).

And because of our faith, we are courageous. We're not afraid to obey God, we don't doubt the Lord, and we don't worry about the necessities of life.