This is a guest post by Pastor Sam Mata. Pastor Sam is an executive pastor at Shoreline Church in Austin, Texas. Pastor Sam and his wife, Kelly have been at Shoreline for over 20 years and are campus pastors at Shoreline’s south campus. Shoreline’s Men’s conference, Ignite starts this week.
Several words come to mind when I hear the word “Courage.” I think of words like brave, strong, power, perseverance and battle. As a man, I love these words. I am reminded of movies like “Braveheart,” “Gladiator” and “Rocky.” We see men face the odds that are stacked up against them, we cheer them on as they go into battle and defeat their enemy. There is something that is stirred in us and we can relate somehow to the tension we see on the big screen, except our situations are different. It seems like maybe our battles consist of overdue bills, a struggling marriage, sexual temptation or children not acting right. Courage is needed, none the less, to get through these challenges. Maybe we try to escape by watching these movies, because our heroes win those battles and somehow it means we win ours too. But when the credits roll and the movie ends, we’re still in the same place, nothing has changed. We walk out of the movie theater and back into the same routine of our lives. This is why we need more than a good story.
While we can find encouragement and great sound bites from the dialogue, we need substance, we need something deeper and real for us to pull from that will work in our everyday lives. I wonder if this is why Jesus said “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden… I will give you strength.” Paul said it this way, “your power is made perfect in my weakness,” not in my strength. It is in our weakness that we find strength and power. Jesus told his father in the garden, “not my will, but yours be done.” It is when we surrender that we become Courageous. Courage comes when we surrender to the fact that we need a power source greater than our own efforts. Courage comes when we decide that no matter what, God is still for me, He is still with me, He still loves me and I will get through this. I don’t know how or when, but I will… simply because God promised and I believe him. To me, that is Courage. Surrendering to the fact that I cannot do it alone, in and of myself I don’t have what it takes, but with God all things are possible. He will complete the work that He started, He will be faithful, He will never leave me nor forsake me, His love will never fail and I am more than a Conqueror. It takes Courage to believe God, at His word, especially when I see things in the natural, don’t match up with what I need to see. I’m so glad Jesus found Courage to lay his life down and trust His father. I have life because of that one act of Courage, Heaven is my home and I will never be separated from God because I believe what Jesus did on the cross was enough, once and for all. I have hope, I have joy, I have wisdom, I will never lack anything. The price has been paid so I can have all the Courage I need. So when the story of my life here on earth is over and the credits roll, only one line is needed on the big screen. I want it to say, “He surrendered and found courage.”