31 Days of Brave: Repair

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Gentle Reader,

There is a final word found within these definitions.

“Repair.”

That just blows my mind. I’m dealing with a tough and drawn-out situation right now, and it seems that the brave thing to do is to seek to repair things. Honestly, I’d rather turn my back.

I think of my dad working on my mom’s car over the summer. The idea wasn’t to just patch up the old parts so that it would maybe run again. He replaced things. Lots of things. He brought in what was new in order to make the old operate correctly. It was a difficult process. It was a lengthy process. There was trial and error. Some things worked, some things didn’t.

He stuck with it.

There are times when we need to shake the dust off of our feet, but I wonder if we are too quick to do that. (I absolutely DO NOT mean cases of abuse. If you are in a situation where you are being hurt in any way, remove yourself and seek help immediately!) I wonder if we are too quick to give up. I know that I am often far too impatient for the process.

Bravery repairs.

In studying these Hebrew and Greek words I see a distinct connection between attitude and courage. Jesus said:

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:45 (NKJV)

If we speak forth what is in our hearts, then surely we act from that place as well.

My journey to faith. (15)

  For all of the posts in the 31 Days: Brave series, go here.

31 Days of Brave: Connection #2

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Please know that the words I’m choosing to highlight in these posts are not the only words that can be translated as “courage,” “courageous,” “valiant” or “gather up courage,” but they are the common terms. Also know that I am not using every word found in each definition; that would take up a lot of space and you might get bored. If you want to pursue this further (and I hope you do!) check out the “original language tools” at StudyLight).

Gentle Reader,

On to the Greek.

There are so many places in the New Testament where we are encouraged to stand fast, to be bold, to be brave. I’ll be honest and tell you that I don’t have the patience to count them all up, but the number of times this concept is mentioned is too numerous to be ignored. Or to be a coincidence. The life of faith is hard. The road can be long and difficult.

But again we will be surprised at the words used to spur us forward on this journey.

Tolmao, meaning “not to dread, endure, bold” places us within our realm of understanding. Brave people are bold. Brave people endure the trials they face. How about the idea of not dreading whatever comes, though? As a self-admitted pessimist, I often dread things. I imagine the worst possible scenario and then assume that it will probably be worse.

Dread makes you run away.

It has never occurred to me that dread and fear are really two sides of the same coin. It might be possible to dread something without fearing it, but it’s not possible to fear something without dreading it. And dread blows things completely out of proportion. What you dread, you hate. And what you hate…well, you often fear. So you avoid it.

Tharseo and euthymeo have similar definitions, meaning “good cheer, good spirits, glad, cheerful.” When the New Testament authors encourage us to be brave, they also encourage us to be cheerful.

Is it possible to be brave without being cheerful?

I have trouble wrapping my mind around that. I’ve always imagined bravery as this sort of grim determination. A frown. Gritted teeth. You don’t at all enjoy what you’re doing, but you’re doing it because you know it’s right. Now I wonder. If you’re only ever operating from a place of obligation, won’t you eventually give up? Really, the only answer to that is a solid “yes.” Obligation only gets you so far before the inherently selfish bent of our souls takes over.

Gladness and cheerfulness are emotions that I connect with love. I feel happy when I’m around people I love or when I’m doing something I love. So maybe this admonition to be courageous is also a reminder of the love God has for us and the love we have for Him. I don’t know about you, but I need reminding of that. Often.

These three words carry with them other meanings, words like “hard, stout, firm, determined, resolute, secure, solid.” A brave person knows what she is about. She has conviction. She operates from a placing of knowing.

My journey to faith. (15)

  For all of the posts in the 31 Days: Brave series, go here.

31 Days of Brave: Connection #1

photo-1421986527537-888d998adb74Please know that the words I’m choosing to highlight in these posts are not the only words that can be translated as “courage,” “courageous,” “valiant” or “gather up courage,” but they are the common terms. Also know that I am not using every word found in each definition; that would take up a lot of space and you might get bored. If you want to pursue this further (and I hope you do!) check out the “original language tools” at StudyLight).

Gentle Reader,

My hubby came down with a cold on Thursday night. Dosed up with a decongestant, with a doggy at his feet, he drifted off in to the beautiful world of sleep while I researched Hebrew and Greek words for bravery and courage.

I came away with some fascinating conclusions.

First, the Hebrew.

I found four words that are commonly translated “courage,” “courageous” or “valiant” in the Old Testament. The fist is chayil, meaning “strength, ability, efficiency.” These are all terms that we would associate with bravery. A strong person is brave. A capable person is brave. A brave action is usually taken quickly; in and out, to the point. The root of chayil leads down an entirely different path, however: Chiyl, meaning “twist, whirl, dance.”

Even now I am brought up short with that definition. Twisting and whirling I can connect with bravery. I can picture such moves being used in a fight? But dancing? I equate dancing with things like happiness and romance. Dancing is done from a place of joy, exuberance, delight.

Is being brave delightful?

The second pair of related words intrigue me even more. Leb refers to “the inner man, the will.” This makes sense. Courage comes from a place within, not a place without. We know that it is connected to choices. Yet leb cannot be understood on it’s own. There is a link between this word and ruach, meaning “wind, breath, mind, spirit, smell, scent, perceive, vigor, courage, energy.”

You know ruach. You’ve read it dozens of times.

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. – Genesis 1:2 (NKJV, emphasis mine)

Ruach can be used of men, but it is always used when describing the Holy Spirit:

When applied to God, the word ruach indicates creative activity (Gen. 1:2) and active power (Isa. 40:13). The Spirit of God also works in Providence (Job 33:4, Psa. 104:30), in redemption (Ezk. 11:19, Ezk. 36:26-27), in upholding and guiding His chosen ones (Neh. 9:20, Psa. 143:10, Hag. 2:5) and in the empowering of the Messiah (Isa. 11:2, Isa. 42:1, Isa. 61:1). … Ruach may be understood as the Author of the animating dynamic of the created order, the underlying Principle of creation… – Hebrew for Christians

In other words, God’s ruach gives us our ruach, which in turn forms our leb.

Can anyone be truly brave, consistently brave, apart from God?

All of this is swirling around in my mind today. Our leb can be chayil, and in turn choose to chiyl, because of the indwelling ruach of God.

Praise Him!

My journey to faith. (15)

  For all of the posts in the 31 Days: Brave series, go here.