Loving Kindness

This is the second part of our summer campaign to become more like Jesus.

John the apostle encouraged his readers with this word “Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is”. 1 John 3:2 

That is a very encouraging thought, our journey of faith is towards becoming more and more like Jesus and one day when we see him we’ll be like him.

Our world needs Jesus (we need his wisdom, his love, power and grace) and that is why the work of the Holy Spirit is to transform us to become more like him in thoughts, words and actions.

Throughout the month of July we have been exploring ‘Be loving’. 

Our aim as we journeyed through the month was to do “small acts of kindness that made a difference to someone’s world”. 

As we journey out of July we still want to continue being loving and doing small acts of kindness whilst we journey into August where our focus turns to being ‘BRAVE’.

When Paul the apostle wrote to his young protege Timothy he encouraged him with these words “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline”. This is an amazing gift from God that we need to cherish, understand and walk in.

God has given us a gift that empowers us, fills us with love and floods our life with self discipline so we can be effective followers of Jesus

There are so many things in our world that can bring fear into our lives and the truth is unless we deal with those real fears we can stagnate in our faith and life journey. It is a known fact that fear will steal our hopes and dreams and leave us bankrupt. 

Whilst it is not a scriptural fact the statement fortune favours the brave is a sentiment that rings true even for followers of Jesus because unless we take certain brave steps of faith we’ll never see or experience the corresponding actions that come from those steps.

If we allow it, fear will so easily paralyse us and stop us from experiencing the flourishing life that God wants and has planned for us.

So during the month of August we want to continue to experience the enabling power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Jesus said ‘you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and become my witnesses’ Acts 1:8. 

Jesus knew for us to be true representatives of his kingdom we need to be empowered from heaven and that is why being brave is the default setting for followers of Jesus but that is never bravery from our own efforts or in the absence of fear or challenging situations.

When we talk about being brave it is not tricking ourselves into feeling better. It’s about inviting the Holy Spirit to create courageous patterns of thinking, feeling, and living within us. 

So what does it mean to be brave

Being brave is being ready to face and endure danger or pain and showing courage in the midst of challenging and difficult situations. Being brave can sometimes mean speaking up, taking a stand or opposing an abusive person or power that is destroying rather than building others.

Being brave can also mean something as simple as speaking and sharing the truth when it might not be what people want to hear or simply offering to help those in need and praying with someone who needs the help of God in a given situation

Easy steps to becoming brave

What can you do simply to make yourself brave? Read and explore these 10 principles below

  1. Smile – Did you know the face uses 28 muscles to frown and only 14 to smile? Sometimes in the midst of life’s challenges when smiling seems impossible we can sum up the courage to just smile.

A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:4

  1. Speak kindly to yourself – It’s difficult to be brave if our thoughts are negative. We can sometimes be our worst enemy by what we whisper or shout to ourselves. The writer of proverbs states “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24
  1. Remember all that God has done – Gratitude is a way to remember God’s faithfulness in our lives. In order to take a small step toward bravery, take a moment to remember God as the psalmist does in Psalm 77:11: “But then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago..”
  1. Do the next thing – Plans and goals are right and necessary to guide our everyday choices, but sometimes the big picture can paralyse us because it seems overwhelming. When we feel overwhelmed the best thing to do is the next simple thing that needs doing.  “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. Luke 16:10
  1. Rely on God’s strength – God wants the best for you and he is your everything. So often, we want to do this life on our own because we discount God’s presence in our mundane moments. But when we do that, we experience frustration and failure. Ephesians 6 tells us a very simple way we can journey towards bravery. “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10
  1. Rest in his love – God loves you with an everlasting love. Sometimes we forget that, because we’re disappointed with unanswered prayers or discouraged by negative circumstances. When we bravely rely on God’s love we recover the strength to stay dependent on him. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 1 John 4:16
  1. Let God fight for you – Sometimes, bravery is more of a mindset than an action. Rather than seeing yourself on the losing end of your battle, view yourself through the eyes of Christ as a victor—because that is what you are. When Jehoshaphat realised he was surrounded by enemies that were stronger and numerous than him, he was determined to change the people’s thinking towards reliance on God. Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.” 2 Chronicles 20:20.
  1. Don’t be afraid of fear – An absence of fear is not the presence of courage. We cannot wait for brave feelings to appear to take the next step. There’s a trust factor in each step of faith. There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two champions of Moab. Another time, on a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it. 2 Samuel 23:20 Benaiah still had to cognitively follow the lion into a pit and risk his life to win.
  1. Be willing to fail – The possibility of failure is present whenever we step out in faith. However, God is not looking for perfectly brave people—he’s looking for people who will say yes to his ways, even if they risk failing. “Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” Psalm 37:24
  1. Get up again – When you see bull riders tie themselves to untamable animals and burst out of the chute hoping for an eight-second ride, it is a picture of humanity, we would stumble and fall, have injuries on the way and aches and pain but bravery is getting up and back onto the ride again.

©adapted from an article by Jessica Van Roekel on

Bravery Contagion

In 2014, researchers found that emotional states can be transferred from person to person via what scientists call “emotional contagion.” Emotional contagion explains why some people cry when they see others crying. In a more positive sense, it also explains why we are apt to act in courageous ways when we see others being brave, like someone going over to comfort someone upset brings more people into that comforting space.

Being Brave can be contagious and as we focus on bravery during the month of August we want to explore small acts of bravery that can make a difference to someone’s world and also help ourselves to reflect God’s grace towards others.

  1. Smile at strangers
  2. Go deeper in your conversations
  3. Show someone that you care about them
  4. Say No to yourself
  5. Say Yes to a new challenge
  6. Take responsibility for your emotions
  7. Pray for someone
  8. Take someone out for coffee
  9. Share your insecurities with a trusted friend
  10. Read a new interest book and share it with others
  11. Set yourself some challenges
  12. Share Jesus with someone in words or action