Quiet Before Courage

 

Over Christmas, my sweet sister-in-law asked me if I had ever read Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs. I had never heard of her, but knew that one of my goals for 2018 was to read more, so I was interested. After a quick scan of the back of her book, I was sold. Well, in total transparency, I was sold as soon as I saw the cover. Marketing works on me.

Let's all be brave

Kristin, my sister-in-law, proceeded to tell me that Annie F. Downs also has a devotional out called 100 Days to Brave. Guys, check out how cute the cover of this book is.

100 days to brave

Forget the content, I want to display this on my coffee table! Joking, obvi. But really, I was sold, instantly. Luckily for me, Amazon Prime came in clutch right before the new year. On Dec. 31, this pretty little thing showed up on my doorstep. #Blessed

I’m only four days in, but guys, I am loving this devotional and this book! In this season, God is stretching me and asking me to step outside of my comfort zone. While I’m completely thankful for these opportunities, (I was begging God for this a year ago) I would be lying if I didn’t admit to feelings of fear and inadequacy. Acknowledging the times in my life I’ve already been brave in my obedience to God, is just the start of this journey for me. I’m so excited for God to reveal himself to me and am hoping to share with you some of the things I’m learning along the way, starting today!

The officials were amazed to see how brave Peter and John were and they knew these two apostles were only ordinary men and not well-educated. The officials were certain that these men had been with Jesus.  – Acts 4:13 CEV

Can you remember a time when you continued to see the same verse over and over again? Maybe you read a verse and came into contact with the same verse, on more than one occasion, in a short time span? The first couple of times it happens you might not think anything of it, but by the third time you kind of start thinking, ‘Wait a minute. Maybe I should be paying more attention to this.”

Well, that has recently happened to me with the verse I just shared; Acts 4:13. On my last blog post, Embracing Average, my number one fan (shout out to Grandma Donna), commented this verse. A few days later, I learned that I would be teaching a message on this verse and again, this morning, it showed up as the verse in my devotion!!

For the record, I don’t believe in coincidences. I do believe however, that God’s hand is at work in my life and that he wants to speak to me through his Word. In fact, He’s willing to put it right in front of my face, THREE DIFFERENT TIMES, if that’s what it takes to get my attention. Ugh. Love that about Him.

Anyways, it was clear, I needed to give this verse a little more attention. I flipped my Bible open to Acts 4. I’ve been reading out of same Bible since the 8th grade and so it’s fair to say that it’s well past it’s prime. It’s seen better days, for sure. But, I can’t bring myself to study from another Bible! I like this Bible. It has all of my notes and highlights and markings in it. Riley and I bought new Bibles and gave them as gifts to each other on our wedding day. It was sweet and sentimental and I’ll keep it forever, but I’ll be honest, that Bible is still sitting in its box, on my dresser. Maybe some day I’ll use it, but for now, I’m sticking with Old Faithful.

Anyways, there’s a point to all that. When I flipped to Acts 4:13, I wasn’t too surprised to see it already underlined. (I got a little crazy with that in 8th grade. I think the entire book of James is highlighted.) Along with the verse being underlined, there is also a note written in the margin that says,

“Be courageous, people will see Jesus in you.”

While initially that seems like an innocent enough observation, I believe it sheds light on a flaw in my interpretation of this verse altogether. I’m not sure how old I was when I made that comment, but it really doesn’t matter. I could have written the same thing last month. God is teaching me something and I’m only beginning to grasp it. Read the verse again and let me try to explain.

The officials were amazed to see how brave Peter and John were and they knew these two apostles were only ordinary men and not well-educated. The officials were certain that these men had been with Jesus.  – Acts 4:13 CEV

I have italicized a few phrases that stick out to me.

  1. Peter and John were brave.
  2. Peter and John were ordinary men and were not well-educated.
  3. Peter and John had been with Jesus.

Pretty straight forward. Except, the way I read and interpret this verse today is completely different from how I would have read it a month ago and obviously, how I read it when I made the comment in the margin.

My comment expresses that I interpreted the verse to mean this,

“The Apostles, John and Peter, were courageous, so people saw Jesus in them. Therefore, It’s important for me to be courageous so that people will see Jesus in me.”

Again, not completely false. I start to have a problem with this interpretation when I dig a little deeper. In making that statement, I’m actually giving myself the glory. I am telling myself, if you can muster up enough courage and bravery through what you say and what you do, people will see Jesus in you. In other words, I, in my own power, have to do something for Jesus to be seen. But that’s not what this verse is saying at all.

Now, I interpret it this way,

“The apostles, Peter and John, were able to be brave in their actions and their words because they had been with Jesus. It was not anything that they did, they were only ordinary and uneducated men. But, their time spent with Jesus made them courageous and brave. Therefore, spend time with Jesus and get to know Him. If you do that, you will be able to speak boldly about Jesus and people will take notice.”

BOOM.

Do you see the difference? Do you see how God gets the glory in the second interpretation? I don’t know about you, but that is such a freeing revelation for me. I no longer have to worry about ‘mustering up’ enough courage to be bold and make Jesus proud. No.

All I have to do is be with Jesus and His Spirit will produce in me a boldness to talk and walk like Him.

Somewhere along the way, I started beleiving that I could make Jesus proud on my own strength. The funny thing about that is, Jesus never intended for me to do anything alone. He’s actually not even interested in what I think I can do for Him, without Him. He wants me to be bold and courageous in obedience to Him, sure. But, He wants to do it in His power, through me. He wants the glory, and He deserves it! It’s not easy to be brave, but thank goodness I don’t have do it on my strength, without Jesus.

It’s day four on 100 days to Brave and Jesus is rockin’ my world right now. I’m really tempted to make this verse my motto for 2018. I want to finish out this year as someone who is brave in obedience to Jesus and I will do that by simply being with Him. Quiet before courage.

This idea is so exciting to me, guys. I haven’t even had a full 2 hours to digest this new revelation but I was so excited, I just had to share!

Will you join me in being brave in 2018? Not by your own ability, strength, knowledge or willpower, but by simply being with Jesus and gaining courage from Him?

I’d really love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Leave a comment, shoot me a text or message me on Facebook!

Be encouraged, friends. ❤

Note: I actually came up with the title for this post after I was finished writing it. I had to feature a picture of a lion becasue, obviously. Quiet before courage.

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6 thoughts on “Quiet Before Courage

  1. Awesome thoughts! He is the famous one, we are not! He is the pump, we are the pipe! As we abide in His presence we reflect His glory and power more and more!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Sagan, for sharing what God is teaching you. I plan to come alongside you and use the same theme verse for 2018!! It is my desire to grow deeper in my love and knowledge of Jesus, so that I say “yes” to my kingdom assignments- big or small. To God be the glory! ❤️

    Like

  3. I so like how God loves to use ordinary people. People who might go unnoticed by most. And He sometimes gives us extraordinary tasks. I think I’m going to work on being available this year. Available and in tune with what’s going on around me so that I realize that God’s got something for me to do with and for Him. Thanks for this lovely reminder, Sagan.

    Liked by 1 person

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