What does it mean to be brave? Many dictionaries define bravery as a trait which one uses to overcome fear or difficulty. So, in one sense, to be brave requires courage or confidence even.
But, what does bravery look like biblically? I want to just highlight one way in which a follower of Christ can be brave. For this, I now turn to the letter written to the Hebrews.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
(Hebrews 4:16, ESV)
No doubt this is a familiar verse to many, but I want to point out a few things here pertaining to bravery.
First, notice that the Christian can approach the throne of the Almighty with confidence. The sacrifice of our Great High Priest has made this type of approach possible. He sympathizes with our weaknesses because he himself endured the same types of problems we face. We may approach the throne of grace bravely because we know that he knows what we are going through!
Second, notice that the type of bravery a person must have when approaching the throne of grace. This is not the type of bravery that says, “I am alright on my own! I don’t need anyone else to help me! I shall be strong and courageous of and by myself!” That type of bravery is like that of the false teachers in 2 Peter 2:10 who boldly (sinful boldness) go up to God and oppose him to his face! No, this type of bravery requires humility.
No, this type of bravery requires humility. It is the kind of bravery that says, “Lord, you were tempted and tried just as I am, yet you didn’t sin! Lord, I know that of and by myself, I do not have any power to fight the good fight. I am but a helpless babe and need your power, Lord.” This type of bravery requires humility. There is no room for cockiness, arrogance, or pride at the throne of grace.
Third, notice what is given. These are two of the greatest gifts in all Scripture, “that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Mercy and grace. Mercy is not receiving something we do deserve (i.e. God’s wrath for our sin in response to trials and temptations) and grace is receiving something we don’t deserve (i.e. help in the time of need!). One of my seminary professors described grace this way in a recent sermon,
“Grace means more than given us what we don’t deserve. Grace means giving us something that we could have never achieved whether we deserved it or not.”
-Brent Aucoin, Sermon: By Grace Alone (You can watch the sermon by clicking the link)
So, what I am getting at here is that the type of bravery we need is the type of bravery that is confident in the Lord’s capability and love to sympathize with us in our weaknesses (He endured this life too!). The type of bravery we need is the type of bravery that humbles ourselves before the Omnipotent Creator and Sustainer of all things because we realize we are powerless and he is all-powerful! The type of bravery we need is the type of bravery that is actually freely given to us in Christ! It’s his gifts of mercy and grace to help us in time of need that produces true bravery!
To sum this all up in laymen’s terms: We need Christ if we want to be brave.