Let’s admit it. Even as adults, when we watch an adventure movie or read an action book that has a clear hero or heroine, we find ourselves wanting to be like them. We don’t don superhero capes like we may have done as children. Yet, the point is clear – we want to be the kind of people who can handle whatever comes our way and serve others in the process. And we want to be able to look back over what we have done and feel really good about it.
In short, we want to be strong and courageous.
As I read through Joshua chapter 1 this morning, I came across the commissioning of Joshua. Moses was dead. The Israelites were about to conquer the Promised Land. Joshua was the new leader and God may have sensed that Joshua was feeling like he wasn’t up to the task. He wasn’t the hero that Israel needed him to be.
So, God gave him three very specific action points to focus on. If he engaged in these three habits, the end result would be a strong and courageous leader for Israel.
First, Believe God’s Promises (Joshua 1:6)
“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.” (New Living Translation)
It’s a given that in life there will be obstacles that are much larger than us. Times of decision, trial, temptation and more will come that would cause us to run in fear.
A follower of Jesus who is strong and courageous is someone who is resting in God’s promises. We know what is going on around us. We aren’t delusional. But, we are much more convinced of the reality of God’s precious promises. We cling to a promise of God from His Word.
Second, Obey God’s Precepts (Joshua 1:7-8)
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” (New Living Translation)
Simply put, God will not bless someone who is toying with sin (no matter how big or small the sin is). Added to the seriousness of sin is this fact – someone who is a child of God and also in sin will have bouts of guilt. A guilty conscience hardly lends itself to being strong and courageous.
A follower of Jesus who is strong and courageous is someone who is obeying God’s Word. We are ‘sold out’ for Jesus. We are passionately pursing Him and obeying His Word. There is no guilty conscience and God is free to bless our lives.
“This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (New Living Translation)
Life can feel very lonely, especially when it gets tough. Such a mindset will undermine your ability to tackle the obstacles in front of you.
A follower of Jesus who is strong and courageous is someone who realizes that God is with them wherever they go. In fact, we realize that God’s Holy Spirit is actually inside our body. Just as God the Father took up His powerful residence inside the Old Testament temple, so has God the Holy Spirit taken up residence inside the body of ever believer. Rest in the fact that God will never leave you nor forsake you.
God is looking for folks to use. He’s building His Kingdom. But, He wants folks who are strong and courageous who will play key roles in the story of redemption.
Will you develop the habits of the kind of people that God tends to use? You’ve only got one life to live. Make the most of it!