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I remember the first time I saw someone healed on the streets. I was walking home with a friend at the end of a University lecture and she started telling me about a pain in her knee. I was terrified at the thought of offering to pray but I knew the Holy Spirit was nudging me. I managed to muster enough courage to talk to my friend about the fact that Jesus loves to heal people, and she was happy for me to pray. I prayed a very simple prayer. Nothing immediately happened, but later in the day she came to me to say that all the pain in her knee had gone. Jesus had healed her and He had chosen to use me!
The normal Christian life
What I have come to realise over the past sixteen years is that God is passionate about using all of His children to see His Kingdom, His rule and reign, established on the earth. God wants to use all of us to see the sick healed, the lost saved and the broken restored wherever we go. This is the normal Christian life for every believer. How can we grow in courage to ensure that seeing God’s Kingdom break out becomes part of our everyday lives?
Be secure in your identity
Our identity as beloved sons and daughters of God is nothing to do with us but entirely down to what Jesus did for us on the cross. We have done nothing to earn our identity and so nothing we do can change it. When we understand this truth it helps us take risks for God. We can speak to people about Jesus, offer to pray for healing or share what we feel God might want to say to someone and not worry about getting it totally wrong. Whether we see incredible miracles or absolutely nothing happens, our identity remains secure. We will always be beloved sons and daughters of the King and that makes being courageous so much more fun.
Know God’s measure of success
I remember once offering to pray for a lady on crutches who declined. I walked away from the conversation feeling dejected. In my mind I had been unsuccessful in doing what I was called to do. As I carried on walking, I began to hear the sound of really loud applause in my head. When I asked God what was going on He told me it was the applause of Heaven. All of Heaven was applauding because I had taken a risk and offered to pray! I learnt in that moment that God measures success differently to how I do. We often measure success by results: did a person get healed, did I hear God right, did I give the gospel? God’s measure of success is totally different. God is looking for hearts that say “yes” to Him. He is looking for obedience. The question we need to ask is, “Did I do what God asked me to do?” The outcome of our obedience is up to Him.
Be with Jesus
When people saw the courage of Peter and John in Acts 4:13, they were astonished and took note that they had been with Jesus. When you spend time with Jesus, you cannot help but catch His heart for the lost and broken and grow in courage to bring change. All of us are called to see God’s Kingdom break out wherever we go. (You can hear more about this here.) Jesus modelled the normal Christian life and now He commissions us to do the things that He did. What an adventure. What a privilege. As a church family we are passionate about creating a culture of courage. What could you do this week to take your courageous exploits to the next level? The whole of Heaven is ready with applause.