Decisions are constantly before us which can determine our destiny. In order for us to make the correct decisions, courage is needed—the courage to say no when we should, the courage to say yes when that is appropriate, the courage to do the right thing because it is right. (Thomas S. Monson, Be Strong and of a Good Courage, April 2014)
There are so many scriptural examples of courage and it is so inspiring. Except that I don’t consider myself a courageous person. I think I stress about what other people might think of me. I think I get lazy and procrastinate some things that I know I should courageously do. I don’t courageously minister as well as I should.
But, there are a few scriptures that help inspire me. There are a few stories that help me dig deep and be the best and most courageous version of myself. It’s what I rely on every month when I’m convincing myself to reach out to the families that I minister to that haven’t been to Church in years. I hope they help you too!
Scripture #1: Turn to God
Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:22)
The first step in building our courage is turning our faith to God. Interestingly, both faith and fear are feelings of an expectation of an outcome based on unseen factors. When we have faith, we have a positive expectation based on things we haven’t seen yet. When we are afraid, we simply have negative expectations based on things we haven’t seen yet.
When we are afraid of the dark, it is an expectation of something negative coming out of what we can’t see. To overcome this we have to move our beliefs toward God with the understanding that no matter what happens, it will turn out to be good when we are with God.
God will sustain you. Whatever he allows you to get in. He will help you get through.
And then the battle in my head goes on. “That is so much easier to say than to do!” And I agree with myself and remind myself one of the pinnacle stories of faith from the Book of Mormon.
Scripture #2: Real Courage
Alma and Amulek were in a very bad spot. The people in Ammonihah were not happy with them. In fact they had tied them up and started a fire. Then they took all the people that had recently been converted to Christ and threw them in the fire.
I can’t think of many more heart wrenching experiences in the scriptures. This was Amulek’s home town. He must have known everyone that was thrown in the fire and everyone that was doing the throwing. The emotional and spiritual must have been overwhelming.
Amulek’s first thought was to stop it.
He said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames. (Alma 14:10)
Alma had a clear testimony that if we are committed to Christ, it doesn’t matter what happens to us, we are victorious.
But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory. (Alma 14:11)
They had won the eternal battle. Alma knew it. But would he have that same courage when it came time for him to experience pain because of his testimony? (Spoiler alert: YES! He never faltered!)
Now Amulek said unto Alma: Behold, perhaps they will burn us also.
And Alma said: Be it according to the will of the Lord. (Alma 14:12-13)
Alma was confident that no matter what the will of the Lord was, he would face it with faith and courage.
But, Alma and Amulek weren’t thrown in the fire. Instead they were put in prison where they were beaten, starved, bitten, and spit on. And their consistent response was one of faith in the promise that God would “sustain thee.”
And it came to pass that Alma and Amulek answered him nothing. (Alma 14:17, 18, and 19)
I don’t really think that is how I would have handled it. I think I would have had a few things to say to the people who had just killed all my friends and were now hitting me.
But Alma and Amulek didn’t fear what was being done to them or what these people could do. They had positive expectations of how things would turn out, even though they hadn’t seen them yet. In fact, everything they had seen would seem to indicate that things would go very badly for them.
After they had “suffered for many days” (Alma 14:23) the miracle happened.
The earth shook mightily, and the walls of the prison were rent in twain, so that they fell to the earth.
And Alma and Amulek came forth out of the prison, and they were not hurt; for the Lord had granted unto them power, according to their faith which was in Christ. (Alma 14:27-28)
I remember that story and I remind myself that if I call my inactive ministering family, nothing that bad is going to happen. If I move with courage in my calling or in my responsibilities at home, or if I have to be bold and courageous in inviting someone to come closer to Christ, it won’t end up as badly as it did for Alma and Amulek.
I will move this week with confidence and courage that there will be positive outcomes even though I haven’t seen them yet. You interested in joining me? Email me and tell me what courageous steps you are going to take this week!