TAKE A STEP OF FAITH AND COURAGE
Jonathan said to his young armour-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised fellows.
Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” (1 Samuel 14:6)
Those who impacted their generations in the biblical times are those who took steps of faith and courage. John L. Mason in his book “Let Go of Whatever makes you Stop,” states that “faith can rewrite your future.” The only thing that stands between you and the accomplishment of your goal, dreams or God’s purpose for your life is merely the courage to try and the faith to believe that it is possible. This essay points out some essentials of operating godly faith and Courage needed to Impact one’s Generation.
Kill the pride in you or it will kill your faith and courage needed to impact your generation!
In chapter thirteen of 1 Samuel, when Saul became King over Israel, he chose two thousand men for himself at Michmash and thousand men for his son Jonathan at Gibeah of Benjamin in their war against the Philistines. They were arch enemies as biblical history reveals. Jonathan attached the philistines’ outpost at Gibeah. However Saul, out of pride had the trumpet blown throughout the land that he had attached the Philistines. This made all the people of Israel to gather around Saul at Gilgal to join in the battle. Now the Philistines assembled to fight the Israelites with thirty thousand chariots, six thousand horse men and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. When the men of Israel saw that their situation was critical and their enemies were hard pressed, some hid in caves, thickets, among the rocks and in cisterns. Some crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead to join the enemies. That is they took the other side to avoid destruction. Saul with the troops was quaking in fear and discouragement and was staying at some pomegranate tree in migron. The devastating circumstance is that physically they had no strong weapons to rely on the day of battle. It is important to emphasize from this background that Saul’s growing pride started out small – taking credit for a battle that was won by his son. Left unchecked his pride grew into an ugly obsession thereby destroying him, tearing his family apart and threatening the wellbeing of the nation.
Taking credit for the accomplishment of others indicates that pride is controlling your life. When you notice pride taking foothold, take immediate steps to put it in check giving credit to those who deserve it. Pride in your life may be in the form of forgetting who is on your side and relying on your own resources. This produces panic at the sight of oppositions. Humility focuses attention on God and his resources and trusting Him to help in the midst of problems and temptations. The Israelites became terrified and hid when they saw the mighty Philistine.
It is important to note that it is in the midst of these terrifying circumstances, discouraging atmosphere, frustrating period that Jonathan with the armor-bearer in 1 Samuel 14:1-13 arose in faith and courage to attack their enemies.
Jonathan out of his bold step of faith and courage did confront the enemies and did overcome them. Irrespective of the terrifying circumstances he found himself, he indeed succeeded and victory was on his side. There are some lessons that can be drawn from Jonathan’s adventurous encounter. This is necessary for every Christian who wants to succeed in life and thus remain victorious in life’s struggles against oppositions and for accomplishments of one’s goals or purposes in life.
Some Barriers to overcome in taking Steps of Faith and Courage
Jonathan in his step of faith and courage had to overcome certain barriers which are enemies of faith.
Barrier of Negative Past Experience
Jonathan could have remembered what the father did when he first attacked the enemies at Gibeah. When Jonathan attacked and destroyed the philistine’s outpost, Saul took all the credit. Yet this arrogant past experience of Saul did not discourage Jonathan. Your past must be a place of reference and not a place of residence. In taking a step of faith and courage to achieving your desired goal and purpose in the midst of opposition, you must overcome the challenge of your negative past experience. Perhaps you are afraid to begin something great in life because you have ever failed in some areas of your life. Be it exams, marriage plans, business plans or an attempt to travel overseas. Realize that those past disappointments are not the end of your life. Take a step of faith and courage.
Barrier of Crowd
Jonathan in taking a step of faith and courage did not tell his father and the other Israelites. He did not seek approval of the crowd. Note that it is human to follow the crowd, but it is divine to follow the principles of God. Know the secrete of been secretive in your stets of faith and courage. Jesus understood this principle by receiving supernatural strengths in privacy and sometimes with some core disciples but demonstrated God’s power and miracles in the crowd. Jonathan confined in the armour bearer. It is said that “if you want to move faster you must go alone, and if you want to travel far you must go with someone. The four men who took the step of faith in Mark 2 did all they could to overcome the barrier of crowd by passing through the roof of the building of where Jesus was in order to lower the paralytic man in front of Jesus. When Zacheus wanted to see Jesus at all cost, he run ahead of the crowd to climb the sycamore tree. What a step of faith! So Jonathan with his armour bearer dealt with the barrier of the crowd. This is what Jonathan did. He avoided the crowd to take a step of faith.
Barrier of Tradition
The Political tradition and culture of Jonathan’s day demanded that all eyes were on his father Saul, to lead them to battle. However, Jonathan out of divine inspiration to take a step of faith and courage took the initiative. Inasmuch as one’s traditional and cultural background is important in the practice of Christianity, the voice of God and for that matter divine illumination of the word of God about a particular situation should be taken precedence over one’s cultural tradition in matters of faith and courage.
Barrier of Prevailing Circumstances
The present circumstances of Jonathan and the armour bearer appear that there was no hope. Consider the size of their enemy’s weapons against theirs. They were in darkness of fear, frustration and discouragement. All these threatened Jonathan. Yet He arose. Jonathan arose by looking beyond his present circumstances. Regret looks at the past, sorrow looks at the present circumstances, but faith looks ahead. Have a positive attitude no matter the present circumstances. It is not the circumstances that matter, but what you do about it. The circumstances that imprison you cannot limit you. Remember the former president Nelson Mandella who is a legend of his time. He was twenty-seven years in prison, yet rose to become the first black president of South Africa. You may not be responsible for been knocked down but you are responsible for your rising up. The afflictions you are going through are for a moment. They are temporal. They have not come to stay. Once the disciples of Jesus were scattered and were hidden. Some out of frustration denied Jesus. Others also took other side on that Friday of Jesus’ death. But remember that Jesus resurrected. Sunday morning came. You know what? There is day and there is night. There is joy and there is sorrow. It is today that you are crying. Tomorrow you will laugh. Your tomorrow is on the way coming. Every tomorrow has two handles. You either take it by the handle of faith or by the handle of courage.
Steps of Faith and Courage
- Know that God is with you
Determine to take a step of faith because like Jonathan, you are serving the living God. And Jonathan said to the young man who bore his armor, Come, and let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised ones. It may be that Jehovah will work for us. For there is no restraint to Jehovah, to save by many or by few (I Samuel 14: 6). Be motivated by the truth that like Jonathan, when only God is with you, you are more than majority. Indeed, faith sees the invisible but it does not see the non-existent.
- Recognize the Importance of Positive
Two things are mentioned here in this step. One has to do with positive and the other has to do with confession. Not all things that come to mind are positive. Some are negative and intend to ruin, discourage or frustrate you in life. The one to focus attention on is that of the positive thouts. Again, not all things that come to mind are worth confessing. The scripture points out that the tongue has power over life and death. Everyone is satisfied by the fruit of his lips. Jesus taught that you can have what you say if it is said in faith (Mark 11:23). In the midst of intimidation, Jonathan was positive. And Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, Come up after me, for Jehovah has delivered them into the hand of Israel (l Samuel 14:12b). The positive confessions counter and defeat negative thoughts and see yourself in accordance with your dream. The Psalmist put it better by writing that
“out of the mouths of babes and suckling, You have ordained strength, because of ones vexing You, to cause the enemy and the avenger to cease (Psalm 8:2).
Jonathan’s positive confession came to fulfillment. The enemy was ceased. Make it your habit from now to confess positively about your spiritual growth, your health, relationship and marriage, profession, ministry and all other areas of your life. There is power in positive confession. Agree with David to say that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Confess each day that you are blessed and highly favoured and that you have hope!
- Consider the Value of Perseverance
Climbing with his hands and feet did not discourage Jonathan (1 Samuel 14:13). Persist in your step of faith and courage. Persistence breaks down resistance. In the controversy between the river and the rock, the river emerges the winner, not because of strength, but because of perseverance. Persist because God has seen your weaknesses and understands you. He knows your ambitions and what he wants you to accomplish. Your ability to persevere is an indication that you are on your way to success.
- Be assured that God honours Faith
Realize in your step of faith and courage that God honours faith and visualize the end result from your initial actions of faith. God always rewards those who come to Him in faith (Hebrews 11:6). Jonathan’s faith was rewarded. They killed twenty men in their first attack (1 Samuel 14:14). Saul and his discouraged troops were revived and could join in the battle (1 Samuel 14:20). Those who were with the enemies or had joined their opponents because of fear and frustration came back to support Jonathan (1 Samuel 14:21). Last but not the least those who were fearful and thus hidden also joined in the attack (1 Samuel 14:22). Your step of faith and courage will never go unrewarded.
The four men who carried the paralyzed man by faith never returned home disappointed. Their sick friend was forgiven and healed (Mark 2:1-9). Zacheus who took the step of faith and courage to see Jesus even from the top of a tree did not see frustration. Jesus honoured his faith. Zacheus did not only see Jesus, but he enjoyed the physical presence of Jesus in his own house. God honours faith. Take a step of faith in the aspect of financial giving for the course of God’s Kingdom and God will bless you abundantly. By faith and courage, sow some seeds of love in your marriage relationship and God will honour it. God rewards well whatever is done in faith.
Conclusion and Reflection
This article has pointed out the value of taking step of faith needed to impact lives. Faith that is necessary in every aspect of life’s journeys. Beloved, I don’t know how discouraged you may be in your efforts to do something great and worthwhile for your generation at the time of reading this material. You may be going through some spiritual conflicts with the powers that be. You may be going through some financial difficulties, pressures from friends and families. The antidote to life’s crisis is faith in Christ. For without Christ, life is full of crisis. The steps of faith and courage unfolded in this chapter serve as flashlight. No matter how dark you find yourself; they will help you find your way out.
Note that as a spiritual exercise, faith is an individual affair. Take a step of courage. Have a positive attitude towards life’s challenges. In African religious heritage and in Akan culture in particular, the fearful are disqualified from becoming ancestors. For example, whoever decides to run for his or her life at battlefield and dies in the process becomes disqualified to be canonized as an ancestor. Be a woman or man of faith and courage. They are rewarding virtues that cuts across cultures. No wonder the writer of Hebrews devotes a whole chapter to talk about Heroes of faith (Hebrews 11).