Joshua 1:7-9 (NLT)
“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. 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.”
Be strong and very courageous. These words seem contradictory to the basic truth of “when I am weak than I am strong” or even “serve the Lord with fear and trembling.” Which one is it? Are you to be strong and courageous? Or is this life that we live surrendered to Christ a path of brokenness rather than profound boldness? It is difficult to decide how exactly one should live unless they know the secrets of God’s Kingdom because it is quite contradictory to the way of this world. Crying out for the supernatural in the midst of the natural, we do so with little or no understanding of God’s Will or Way that is clearly delineated in the Word. So as His Spirit leads us into uncharted territory it is no wonder that we are overcome by weakness and fear that becomes crippling doubt and devastating disappointment. We have faith but in what? Our confidence is in who? Without foundational knowledge found in the Word of God, there is no place to plant seed of faith so that they will grow into hope. Hope without faith is useless because it has nothing to back it up so therefore it is invalid and unconfirmed. So rather than living a strong and courageous life as a believer, we cower from the Lord because we are not exactly sure of His Intentions or Ability to do the impossible through His Great Love.
Joshua had suddenly inherited quite a task. I am quite sure in his mind that he believed Moses would finish the job and lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. But in a “who me?” moment, God told Joshua that it would be his responsibility. However, God had not vacated the land but overcome the enemy. Therefore, these men would have to go in and take over with strength and courage. Who signed up for this? What happened to walking in and taking over by simply inhabiting? No one ever said anything about giants in the land, but like David we face opposition in this world because it is in constant conflict with the Kingdom of God. When Jesus comes back, even though He overcame the world, there will still be a great battle. Read Revelation. The Lord gave Joshua some simple steps to follow to inherit the promise: 1) Obey all the instructions Moses gave you. (To know God’s Word) 2) Do not deviate from them. (To Know God’s Way) 3) Meditate on it day and night. (To know God’s Will). Then came God’s Promise, you will prosper and succeed in all you do. God will be with you! Be strong and courageous. Strength as defined in this verse is not based on physical ability but is a made up mind. To be strong means to have a resolute will, to be morally firm with incorruptible character. Courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables someone to face difficulty or danger without fear. It is the confidence to act in accordance with what we believe and not necessarily what we see. Sound familiar.
Hebrews 11:1-3 (Amplified)
Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. For by [faith—trust and holy fervor born of faith] the men of old had divine testimony borne to them and obtained a good report. By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.
Landlords and property owners that have a title deed to the property that they lease to others. The leaser does not own the home but pays another to live there. I have friends who are renting a house. They were recently given notice that the owner no longer wants to rent the property and will not be renewing the lease. They must move from their home into another one at the end of the term. However, if they chose not to leave then the property owner would have to take the proper steps to evict them from the premises and reclaim his property. I am quite sure if this were the case that he would decide to get legal help and follow the proper steps to have them removed from what belongs to him. He would be strong enough to do it backed by the law of their initial agreement. He would be courageous because he owns the land. He knows that it belongs to him because he has the deed to the property. He will not fight them because he does not have to but rather asks for assistance in possessing what already belongs to him. As Children of God, we have been given many promises that belong to us by faith which is confirmation and the title deed to all that we hope for. It belongs to us through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Faith is all the proof we need to live what we believe and develop confident hope. We must fully understand the provisions of our promise in order to enforce ownership here on the earth. Jesus handed over the Keys to the Kingdom to those who develop a firm foundation of faith which is strength, and stand in confident hope knowing that everything God has promised belongs to them.
Job 11:13-19 (NLT)
“If only you would prepare your heart and lift up your hands to him in prayer! Get rid of your sins and leave all iniquity behind you. Then your face will brighten with innocence. You will be strong and free of fear. You will forget your misery; it will be like water flowing away. Your life will be brighter than the noonday. Even darkness will be as bright as morning. Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety. You will lie down unafraid and many will look to you for help.”
Strength is not outward conditioning but an inward change. I had the potential to be fit and strong a long time ago. My body was created to be a certain shape and size. When my mind decided to pursue better health, my body began to change. I had to make up my mind that I would improve my diet and exercise before my physical condition would change. To have courage, we must prepare our heart. The Lord desires a broken heart because now it soft and workable. He desires emptiness so He can fill us with good things. The only thing that we have to fear in the Presence of God is sin. He hates it. His Justice and Righteousness will not tolerate it and we could die on the spot. But faith in Jesus Christ changes our heart so that now all God sees is His Son Jesus who is righteousness. Those who decide to leave sin and iniquity behind are made righteous in that moment. You remain righteous as long as you pursue the Light of His Love. God knows that you are in a transformation process. (Romans 12:1-2) He planned it all out for your prosperity and success. God is rooting for you every step of the way. Those who decide to walk by faith learn to do so in the Word. What you will discover is hope. As you become confident in your hope, you will have the courage to take back everything the enemy has stolen from you in His Power and Strength. You will have faith (the title deed) and confident hope that allows you to boldly take what belongs to you!
Isaiah 57:14-15 (NLT)
God says, “Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity.” The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.”
As we strive to rebuild roads to righteousness removing the obstacle called sin in our life and pursue the highway called holiness, He will restore our strength and revive our courage. By doing right, we live without fear because the threat to our life is permanently removed. Confidence in the Lord will press our heart to pursue His Presence and keep us waiting until He comes. (Psalm 27:11-14) This is not to say that the enemy will not launch a full offensive against you. Strength is a made up mind in every battle against Satan because he has no power except that of deception. Deception is the inherent danger or ignorance. We live impoverished unsuccessful lives because we do not know what we have in Jesus Christ. We settle for less than God’s Best based on our lack of ability rather than His Righteousness. Faith in the Lord changes the outcome of every situation as confident hope anchors our soul until He comes. But do not be deceived – faith in Jesus Christ doesn’t mean that you will not face storms in life. It just means that you will be brought into safe harbor every time. (Psalm 107:30)
Acts 27:21-26 (NLT)
No one had eaten for a long time. Finally, Paul called the crew together and said, “Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Crete. You would have avoided all this damage and loss. But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. But we will be shipwrecked on an island.”
Paul warned the captain before setting sail that this was not a good choice. But the captain refused to listen and cast off anyway charting his own course. Paul said to the men on the vessel, “But take courage. One of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down.” Can you imagine? They must have thought, “You have got to be kidding me, right?” No, Paul was not joking at all. The Angel of the Lord came to him with the news the night before. He told Paul that he would most definitely stand trial before Caesar! Wow, thanks God for more good news! He then went on to tell them, God’s Goodness would grant safety to everyone sailing so take courage and believe God because you are about to be shipwrecked. This account is not the logic of most Christians who believe God will supernaturally (and physically) change their circumstances so that they will never face another trial or problem. The Lord never promised that there would not be storms just that by faith you would make it through it. He did not come into the world and do away with it (yet) but did overcome every obstacle in it so that you can have a title deed called faith with confidence in God’s Word, Will and Way for your life so that you will triumph in every shipwreck. Trials and hardship reveal the contents of our heart as it is broken so we can evaluate what we find and allow the Lord to fill us anew. It is the refinement of faith that allows us to see the Secrets of God that are His Promises which are our inheritance. This is not a game of chance or lottery and there is more than enough to go around. Strength and courage are unnecessary for smooth sailing but prepares those who are about to be shipwrecked. The Lord uses every situation for our good and to the Glory of God. (Philippians 3:13-14) This is great news because it means that we will discover more blessing than ever before because as our soul prospers (I John 3:2) so do we in courage that is confident hope. (I John 2:24-28) Where does muster up courage and strength? (Romans 5:2-4) Christ has brought us into a place of undeserved privilege by faith. We become confident not our own personal strength but rather the Power of God that is alive in us. We develop endurance that leads to strong (incorruptible) character. Character strengthens confident hope because we know that we can have whatever we ask by faith and according to God’s Will.
Acts 4:24-31 (NLT)
When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Sovereign Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying, ‘Why were the nations so angry? Why did they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepared for battle; the rulers gathered together against the LORD and against his Messiah.” “In fact, this has happened here in this very city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. But everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will. And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.
The beginning of the persecution of church must have rocked the early believers. This was not what they expected. But they knew what to do. The believers asked the Lord for courage. These men and women truly loved Jesus Christ. So much so that they were loyal to Him even in the midst of great persecution. (Psalm 31:23-24) You will never be confident in someone who you do not know! When they heart the report of the enemy, they lifted their voices together in prayer. They knew that they needed the strength and courage that the Lord gives us on the inside to endure the hardships that they were experiencing on the outside. They recalled the Word of God. How much time to you spend reading, studying and meditating on the Word of God each day? This is the sign of a true believer because they work to make God’s Word, Will and Way “common sense” to live by. (Proverbs 3:21-26) They asked the Lord for boldness to overcome fear and continue to preach the Word. Who does that? We cry out for the Lord to take our problems away. We ask to be rescued. We want none of this discomfort. But the early believer asked for Strength and Courage – the Lord sent them His Spirit to empower the Word planted deep inside their heart. You will not be exempt trials and hardships in life but rest assured Jesus overcame them all and you will too if you are strong and courageous.
I Corinthians 16:14 (NLT)
Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.
Every day is a game of Truth or Dare! God has given us His Word which is the Truth that governs our life according to His Plan. The enemy dares you to move. Faith is the firm foundation on which we can stand. Confident hope keeps us there when everything seems impossible convinced that God will do exactly as He says so much so that we will not be moved. This is how we become strong making up our mind not to move until He comes. To be strong has nothing to do with our physical ability but soundness of body, mind and spirit in the confident hope that we hold on to without wavering. We must do everything in love because it is the foundation of this life of undeserved privilege that we have been given. After that comes the toughest part of all, patience. (James 5:7-8) We must stand on guard, firm in faith, grounded in the Word, filled with courage without fear, strong in heart and mind even if our body is wasting until His Love perfects and completes us just as He promised. The Lord is faithful to do as He promised. We must be broken to be healed. We must be empty to be filled. We must devastated to be restored. Headed for shipwreck today, don’t worry! Do not be afraid. Hang on to the Word! Stand firm in faith! Remain anchored in confident hope! The Lord will make all things new and you will see His Goodness in the land in which you are living!
Psalm 27:11-14 (NLT)
Teach me how to live, O LORD. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me. Do not let me fall into their hands. For they accuse me of things I’ve never done; with every breath they threaten me with violence. Yet I am confident I will see the LORD’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.