I wonder if we entirely miss the point about Bravery and Courage. It isn’t the absence of fear that makes an individual brave. It isn’t fearlessness that makes a person altogether courageous. If fear is the line in the sand that separates the brave and courageous from the fearful and anxious then it is our ability to assess the fear and overcome it.
Instead of absence it is assessment. The brave and courageous look at fear and decide to step over the line. They make a decision to push through the barrier of fear assess the risk and do something that regular folks perhaps wouldn’t do.
It isn’t fearlessness. I am convinced that brave and courageous people feel fear. It is their ability to assess what makes them afraid and walk right past fear. Christians aren’t called to live a life of fear. We also won’t lives lives that are absent of fear. Our decision to walk is made in light of Christ which allows us to cross over the line of fear and find that we too can be courageous and brave.
Paul encounters fearful things, but it is his understanding of Christ that allows him to move forward in the face of fear. Paul isn’t fearless but he is courageous.
To my shame, I must say, we were too weak for that! But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. – 2 Cor 11:12-21 (ESV)
You may not live with the absence of fear. Live with the right assessment of fear. God is greater.