Where does courage come from? Watching reports from the invasion of Ukraine has been both gut wrenching and awe inspiring at the same time. Faced with insurmountable odds the Ukrainian people have displayed courage to resist the massive Russian army no matter what the cost.
Why would unarmed civilians stand in the way of massive tanks? Why would ordinary civilians stand in long lines to receive guns and enlist in the fight to protect their country?
A mother of two who works as a banker was asked that question as she waited for her weapon? “Freedom!” she said, “I want my girls to live in freedom and I’m willing to die for it.” These people love their country and the new freedom experienced over the last few years and this has infused them with a courageous spirit.
As I have been thinking and praying for the Ukrainians it has prompted much reflection on courage. During our weekly Bible study the Oceans team here in Africa, joined by Mike and Dawn in the US discussed the betrayal and death of Jesus from John’s gospel. These verses portray the ultimate Warrior Spirit like no other. Betrayed by friends, berated by the religious establishment who were filled with demonic pride, beaten by a fear-filled political puppet, and bound to a torturous cross as the innocent Son of God. What was the source of His courage?
Love! A love Jesus had for the Father and a love the Father had for the Son. A love which the Father and Son want to share with sinful people through His Spirit living in them. It motivated Jesus to endure the depths of hell to free His beloved children. He wanted them to live in and experience freedom and find their home in Heaven’s love.
Jesus’ Warrior Spirit flowed from His love relationship with the Father (see John 17:26), which allowed Him to do the most courageous act in the history. What’s amazing about all this is that those who receive His gift of love also receive His Warrior Spirit.
We have a love in us through Christ that we can never be divorced from. No one or nothing in all the universe can separate us from it. Paul tells us in Romans 8:37 this love makes us “more than conquerors.” This means we are not victims but victors in Christ over every circumstance. No situation in life can defeat us, even death leads to eternal victory. As a result we can live fearless and courageous lives in the midst of a fear-filled world.
I’m inspired by the Ukraine’s spirit of courage fueled by love for country and freedom. But how much more should followers of Christ, who have been given His Warrior Spirit of love, live victoriously before all who watch us. Through courageous acts of love such as: serving the least, forgiving our enemies, and loving the lost with the Gospel message of hope we point to Christ the Warrior who lives in us.
Oh Father, flood us a fresh with the Warrior Spirit of your Son, so that His love may pour out of us to a thirsty world who desperately needs to see You.