Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: Hear, O Israel, the LORD your God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:29–30–7—NKJV)

Valor, valiant, and valorous are mighty and moving words. The first time I took note of the word was when I was a young boy. Our church hosted a “Christian Service Brigade” unit and I was a member, along with other 8–11 year olds, of the “Stockade” portion of the program. Every Saturday morning we would gather in the activity room of the church for Bible study, play great games like “Buck, Buck” and “Skeeter Board,” earn merit badges, and line up in our blockhouse formation for recitation of our motto and benediction.

The benediction ran something like this: “Lord our Savior, Guide and Captain, be a stalwart wall around us. Make of us Stockaders valiant, keep us in the Name of Jesus. Amen.” That unique word, from that point on, stood out every time I read it in an adventure book, learned of its meaning when warrior’s exploits were recited, and reveled in it when I discovered it in Hebrews 11:33–35, “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again.”

Do not let the recognition escape you that valor, though it is most often associated with masculinity and the military world, is a word applicable to both men and women. The word has Latin origins; valere meant to be strong, to be worthy. Therefore, valor means courage, fearlessness, and bravery, especially in battle. It is expressive of both persons and of acts. All valorous and heroic qualities find their impetus from indwelling strength! In the military it is used in the context of an outstanding act of bravery, remarkable for its supernal nature, among the many acts of bravery in a military campaign.

The Greek word for valor in the Scriptures is the word ischaros, meaning strong and mighty (1 John 2:14). The word is used in Matthew 14:30 to describe the “boisterous, mighty wind which robbed Peter of his courage, and in Revelation 19:6 of voices as the sound of mighty thunderings.” It is, of course, often used to describe God Himself. Psalm 118:14–16, “The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly. The right hand of the LORD is exalted; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly.” Ephesians 1:19 reads, “And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.” It should, therefore, be no surprise that those who follow Him also may say, “Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies” (Psalm 60:12).

Valor is what is communicated by the word “strength” in our text from Mark 12. We are to love the Lord with valorous strength and might! It is this sort of fortified love for the Lord that carries the day when we do battle with this old world. This passage communicates the secret for doing spiritual deeds of valor!

Anyone who desires to do valiantly for His Lord and Master must first prepare his heart. No one knows when the opportunity for valor will arise, but all can be ready with a ready mind, “ready to every good work” every day (Titus 3:1). Anyone who desires to do valiantly must martial, and be willing to hazard, everything he holds dear for the cause for which he stands and for that which he loves—with his whole heart, soul, mind and strength, withholding nothing (Matthew 6:21). Anyone who desires to do valorous deeds must wholly submit his interests to his one and only Master (Matthew 6:24).

Let it never be said of you what Jeremiah said of Judah in Jeremiah 9:3, “’And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know Me,’ says the LORD.” May Ephesians 6:10 be your watchword: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” “…The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits” (Daniel 11:32). Trust and obey.