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A Time for Courage

By Dr. Charles Stanley

Would you describe yourself as a courageous person? Or does fear have a grip on your life in one area or another? Of course, healthy apprehension keeps us from making unwise choices or taking foolish risks. But fear can leave us in a state of perpetual anxiety or keep us from fulfilling God’s will for our lives.

  • What unhealthy fears do you have? 
  • How do your fears limit or hinder you from fully obeying God?

The Old Testament judge Gideon was initially timid, but he learned to put his trust in the Lord. Despite his dread of the enemy, He chose to obey God and became a courageous--and victorious--warrior. Let’s take a look at five principles found in Gideon’s story about overcoming fear.

Read Judges 6 and 7.  

1. Sometimes fear is related to sin.

Sometimes we feel discontent or anxious because of sin in our lives.

  • In what ways were the Israelites being tormented (Judg. 6:1-5)?
  • What did the angel of the Lord instruct Gideon to do (vv. 25-26)?
  • Given this instruction, name one way the people of Israel disobeyed God (vv. 8-10).
  • At this point, what evidence points to the fact that Gideon was still timid (v. 27)?
  • What happened after he destroyed the altar to Baal (v. 34)? 

The sins of worry, impurity, greed, unforgiveness, and many others can open the door to fear. Although believers in Jesus are always indwelt by the Holy Spirit, clearing our conscience of known sins enables us to walk in His power in a fresh, new way.

  • Are any of your worries the fruit of sin? If so, take a few moments to confess and repent.

2. Our lack of courage can enable us to operate in God’s strength.

The Lord works through people who allow Him to use their weaknesses for His glory.

  • When the angel of the Lord appeared to him, what was Gideon doing (v. 11)?
  • What is ironic about God’s greeting to Gideon (v. 12)?
  • How did Gideon see himself (v. 15)?
  • Explain the principle the apostle Paul discovered (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
  • Can you relate to experiencing the Lord’s power in your weakness, especially when you have felt afraid? Give a specific example if possible.

3. Discovering God’s will is an important part of overcoming fear.

The angel of the Lord told Gideon that he had been chosen to lead the people in battle against Midian and that God would give him victory (vv. 14, 16). However, Gideon wanted to make sure this was indeed the Lord talking to him.

  • What was the first sign Gideon asked of God (vv. 17-21)?
  • What two other signs did he request (vv. 36-40)?

Gideon overcame his fear, in part because he asked for signs that God was indeed speaking to him.  But the leader’s approach described in verses 36-40 is not recommended anywhere else in Scripture.

While no one should stipulate how the Father is to confirm His promises, we certainly can ask Him to make His will clear to us. 

  • When deciding about something that frightens you, how do you confirm what God’s will is?
  • How can hearing from the Lord about a fearful situation bring inner peace?

 4. Humanly speaking, God’s path to peace may not make sense at first.

  • How are the army and camels of Midian described (Judg. 6:5)?
  • Why did God not allow all of Israel’s army to fight the battle (v. 7:2)?
  • After the Lord eliminated the men who were afraid to fight and the men who lapped water like dogs, how many were left to fight the battle (v. 7:7)?

The world--and sometimes fellow believers--won’t always understand why we obey the Lord even when His commands defy common wisdom.

  • Why do you think He chooses to work through actions that, humanly speaking, seem foolish?

5. When we obey God despite our fears, He will fight our battles for us.

  • How had the Lord already worked within the enemy camp (vv. 13-14)?
  • What happened when Gideon and his small army blew their trumpets, uncovered their torches, and shouted “a sword for the Lord and for Gideon” (vv. 19-22)?
  • What remained for the Israelites to do (vv. 23-25)?
  • Although the Israelites mistakenly credited Gideon with the victory (Judg. 8:22), what should they have learned as a result of this battle?
  • When you have obeyed God despite your fears, how did He show Himself strong on your behalf? Be specific.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the promise that I don’t have to be afraid. You are always with me. I pray that I would learn to magnify You and let my fears fall into perspective. Help me keep a clean conscience and meditate on Your marvelous promises instead of giving in to anxiety. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Note: If you are suffering debilitating fears that prevent you from carrying out everyday tasks or result in panic attacks, you may want to seek professional help from a pastor or Christian counselor.


Related Resources

Related Video

A Call for Courage

We learn to respond to the tests and trials of life by facing each new challenge with courage and faith in God. When we’re afraid and don’t know what to do, the Lord will encourage us if we trust Him. In this message, Dr. Stanley shares from the life of Gideon. (Watch A Call for Courage.)

Copyright 2015 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.

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  • April 22, 2013 11:29 AM


    Dr. Stanley,
    This is a timely message directed from God! Each day since God delivered me from bondage and as I commit my life to His will and service the fears that have gripped me for over 50 years are replace by His peace and assurance. God bless you Dr. Stanley!
  • April 21, 2013 02:04 PM


    This study has enriched my life again! God is so perfect in His wonder that He never miss giving me what I need even when I have no clue of what I need. Hoe can you not worship the King!!!
  • April 21, 2013 12:50 PM


    Thank you. Isn't amazing how Gods word meets you were you are! What a blessing. :)
  • April 21, 2013 09:05 AM


    How do I know what God's will is? If I missed His main calling on my life is there any reason to go on? What's left that's worthwhile after that?
  • April 21, 2013 08:52 AM


    Thank you for your word everyday,God bless you!
  • April 21, 2013 07:42 AM


    Depending on God makes the way so easier. Thanks for the reminder. Obedience is our part.
  • March 26, 2013 04:34 PM


    What a blessing it is for you to have teachings that touch us right in the time of need.

    Thank You
  • March 04, 2013 09:32 AM


    This is the second time I've done this particular study. The lesson has helped me to refocus from my fears and remember that God is in control. Thank you!
  • January 26, 2013 07:17 PM


    I'm having troubles in school and this lightened some of the burden it caused. Thank you soo much.
  • September 15, 2012 05:46 PM


    Thank you! I tend to forget how God has a way and will provide. There is no reason to worry. But why is it so hard?
  • August 12, 2012 08:47 PM


    Intensely rewarding feeling of relief
  • June 06, 2012 07:10 AM


    Thank God for this teaching, it is excellent. Thank you Dr Charles Stanley for being obedient to the work of the Lord.
  • June 03, 2012 02:03 AM


    very useful in decision making circumstances...
  • May 09, 2012 08:33 AM


    A wonderful study. God prevails over seemingly impossible odds. Amen!
  • August 21, 2011 09:34 AM


    This was an awsome Bible Study, it relates to my every day life as the H. Spirit comes to me and leads me in ways that seem impossible. How often do I look at the circumstances in this World instead of at my God who has promised to show me, go with me and win for me the battles that lie ahead...I could write a book about the battles from my life he's won and the promises he's kept...Oh, how I pray that I will continue to allow my God to carry me daily in the present, so my life will point to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
  • May 21, 2011 11:35 PM


    What a blessing it is for you to have teachings that touch us right in the time of need.

    Thank You
  • May 16, 2011 10:34 AM


    this is helping me
  • April 16, 2011 09:04 PM


    I sometimes fear of dying, I believe I am saved but every pain I get I think it is a heart attack or cancer. I know God is taking care of me but I can't shake this feeling. Thank you for your guidance. I am closer to my Lord just for hearing your sermons. You make studing the Bible so much clearer.
  • March 04, 2011 05:53 AM


    Sometimes I feel fearful, even though I tried to do God's will, but I think I felt like Gedeon, who am I? maybe I do not give myself enough value as God gives me. I have to remind myself that God is with me(6:16) and that He is a God of patience (6:18) I realize also (6:23) His peace will be with me and I can be fearless. Thanks
  • February 25, 2011 09:39 AM


    Thank you for this Bible study on fear. My entire life, due to my low self-estem, I have been fearful of almost everything. I still struggle with trusting God to take care of everything. I get confussed as to what I am to do and what I am to trust God to take care of. This study has helped remind me to put things back into God's hands again. God is so good and such a wonderful Father. I am so glad that He never gives up on us. Thank you again for the ministry you do for His people.
  • February 25, 2011 09:06 AM


    Thank you for this study. For most of my entire life I have always fault with fear and very much insecurity. I know God i s there for me, but I have been knocked down so much by people I just can't get over my fear of standing up for myself even with my children at times, jobs, and trusting that good things can happen for me. At present I have a disability that lost me my job and this week I tried to just clean a parsonage and was going to do the church offices, but they felt I couldn't do it because my walk is unstable. I am in fear of lossing my home for my daughter and me. I know it's my own fault and other circumstances for my financial problem. That's why I wanted to do cleaning since I clean my own home. May take me a little longer but it gets done and is clean. Well sorry for going on and on. I know God will help me through this as he has hard times in the past. I am sure he has something out there that I can do to earn a little extra money. Thank you again for this study and encouragement.

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