At some point in our lives, we all face fearful situations. But if we yield to what we know is wrong, our lives will be filled with entanglements and trouble. Therefore, we must consider the source of our desires, learn to discern the difference between good and evil, and have the courage to say no whenever something is contrary to God’s will and Word.
When Peter and John healed a lame man, the Jewish rulers were infuriated and commanded them not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But they courageously refused, saying, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).
This is the kind of courage God desires for all of us—obedience to Him without fear of what others may think or do. Instead of being frail Christians who base our decisions on the present situation, let’s become followers of Christ who hold firmly to God’s standards of right and wrong.
Biblical Examples of Courage
Joseph (Gen. 39:6-10). When Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt, he was purchased by Potiphar, who eventually put him in charge of his entire household. Because Potiphar’s wife was attracted to him, she repeatedly tried to seduce him. But Joseph refused, saying, “How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” (v. 9). Although his refusal to yield to temptation landed him in jail when Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of rape, God used the situation to elevate him to a place of authority second only to Pharaoh.
Daniel (Dan. 1:8-16). After Daniel was taken into captivity in Babylon, the king ordered that he and his three friends be given food from his table. But Daniel didn’t want to defile himself with food that had been offered to idols, so he asked the commander if they might have vegetables and water. When the commander objected, Daniel wisely suggested that he test them for ten days to see how the new diet affected their appearance. At the end of the allotted time, Daniel and his friends looked healthier than all the other youths. God honored Daniel’s courageous choice and protected him from defiling himself with the king’s food.
When Daniel was much older, he faced another challenge (Dan. 6:4-24). By this time he was one of the highest officials in the land, and the other commissioners were jealous of him. They convinced the king to pass an edict that anyone who makes a petition to any other god but the king be thrown into a lion’s den. Knowing the consequences, Daniel continued to pray to the Lord three times a day and shortly thereafter was thrown into a den of hungry lions. But once again the Lord protected him and closed the lions’ mouths.
When you face temptation, remember to meditate upon Scripture, as it is our greatest defense against disobedience. The Lord’s promises help us trust and obey Him, knowing He will handle all the consequences (Isa. 41:10-12). Prayer and meditation are our daily defense as we humble ourselves before God, read His Word, talk to Him about our situations, and ask for His help. And never forget—the indwelling Holy Spirit empowers us to resist temptation and obey God when we remain open to His leading.
This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “The Courage to Say 'No,'” which airs this weekend on TV.