In this world, you will have trouble,But take courage, I have overcome the world!John 16:33
Who doesn't love the classic movie The Wizard of Oz? And of all the characters, the Cowardly Lion is a favorite! Why is that, I wonder? Could it be that we see ourselves in him -- while putting on a brave front to face life, we find that, in reality, we are scared little "kitties" inside?
I especially love the lion's "courage monologue":
COWARDLY LION: Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the "ape" in apricot? What have they got that I ain't got?
DOROTHY, SCARECROW, TINMAN: Courage!
COWARDLY LION: You can say that again!
Can you identify? I can...
And that's how I felt with teaching and speaking in a front of people. I was inwardly terrified! I felt a lot of shame about this, because I wanted to trust God completely. (I've since found out, though, that speaking in public is one of the top fears among women -- go figure!) Anyway, this fear was debilitating...often to the point of physical illness.
This was especially true when it came to a big meeting connected to my job with a local Christian school. I used to be a home school coordinator, and in those early days, I had a very large group of families to help. At the end of the summer each year, we would meet as a group with all our families -- new and returning. At that time, we would tell them about ourselves, encourage them, and explain how the program ran.
Well, I dreaded it! Not because they were a hostile group...in fact the opposite was true! And they loved me to boot!
So in my mind, this fear was totally illogical and unfounded! I talked to myself and the Lord about it...but to no avail. It would ruin my whole summer every year! UNTIL...
One summer, I was agonizing as usual over the big home school meeting. In the midst of my agony, I thought to myself, "I need courage!" So I proceeded to beg, plead, pray for courage. I tried to do my best "courage self-talk". All to no avail! I was still a wreck!
In the meantime, that summer I happened to be teaching the little book of Colossians...for the 2nd time (I'm a slow learner!). As I was preparing to teach the second chapter, the Holy Spirit highlighted two verses to my mind and heart:
For in Him [Christ] the whole fulness of deity [God] dwells bodily, and you have been filled in Him... Colossians 2:9-10 ESV
All of a sudden the realization came crashing through: Jesus wasn't a wimp! Remember how He stood up to the Pharisees -- not exactly a friendly audience! Courage is part of the fulness of God in Christ. And the courageous God Christ lives within me. He will live His courageous life through me as I trust Him! That's what being filled in Him means. No more begging, pleading, self-talk, Christian mental mind games! No more shame & despair!
So I decided to trust the Courageous Christ. And guess what? He WAS courageous through me so that I could relax and be my charming :) self--to the glory of God! And it broke the bondage for me in those situations...now I have normal levels of nervousness. And I know that every situation is a new opportunity to trust the full Christ within to be who He is in and through me.
So do you need courage today? The Courageous Christ will be courageous through you as you trust Him. Do you need love today? The Loving Christ will love through you as you trust Him. Do you need to forgive today? The Forgiving Christ will forgive through you as you trust Him. Do you need patience today? The Patient Christ will be patient through you as you trust Him. Do you need _______ today? (You fill in the blank) The _________ Christ will be ________ through you as you trust Him.
If you are a child of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the full Christ lives within you. He is full through you as you trust Him! It's the devil's lie to get us to think of ourselves as separate from our Lord. He's not up there, and we're down here, praying He throws down a little courage (or whatever) if we pray correctly! NO! We are one with Him...united in a way that nothing in heaven or earth can separate!
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20
So, dear sisters & brothers, look at whatever you are facing today as your opportunity to experience Him in His fulness! Praise His Holy Name!
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. 2Peter 1:3 ESV
...that you may be filled with all the fulness of God. Eph 3:19b ESV