Be Strong, Take Courage...
The Lord told Joshua before battle to "take courage"... the root meaning of "taking courage" is that we are to attach our selves to something. Here is the text.
Joshua 1.5-8 "No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. "Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
Joshua's success (prosperity) as a leader of the people and a commander in battle didn't depend upon anything other than being anchored to the truth of Gods promise, God's word and nothing else.
In the rear view mirror of life history Joshua may have been viewed by the enemies of Israel as a brilliant military tactician but I believe God chose him for one reason. He believed God and the evidence of his belief was obedience in action.
It has been said that courage is not the absence of fear, it is doing the right thing regardless of the fear we feel. And doing the right thing over and over consistently regardless of what we feel is where moral character is developed. ...if character is produced by courage in the face of fear.... the trials of life and the resulting fear that we face are our opportunities to develop character. Romans 5.3-5 (the message) says it this way.
"Moreover let us also be full of joy now! let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us."
We tend to struggle with what our feelings tell us we need. We feel we need to take our destiny into our own hands. We feel the need to take whatever steps necessary to meet our needs. We feel the need to gratify our wants and desires on our own timeline. We feel the need to escape the feelings of fear at all costs. But the trials of this life, each and every one seen through the eyes of faith is an opportunity to develop character and trust in God. Mighty men of God are made in the seemingly inconsequential, mundane of daily decisions that most of us seek to avoid.
Brave heart is one of my favorite movies. There is a scene in which Robert the Bruce's father tells him "it is exactly the ability to compromise that makes a man noble." In contrast, William Wallace who when offered money and lands if he would back down and let Longshanks continue to keep Scotland in slavery to the crown, refuses personal comfort over character.
When it comes to Gods word in our lives we have a choice but we need to take the long view. The battle is won only by trusting God and being obedient to his word. We can't expect God's blessing if we do it our way asking God to bless our efforts. Doing it Gods way with all our effort and diligence, understanding that we can not win unless we are clinging and obedient to him, builds Godly character and true faith.
1) What are you struggling with today?
2) Are you trying to do it in your own effort and expecting God to help you with your plan or are you utterly surrendered to doing it his way whatever the cost?
God, I pray that you help me to base my trust in you, not in my abilities or manipulations. Would you help me to keep my spiritual eyes on you today? I voluntarily surrender my will to you today and choose to put my hand in yours right now. I choose to desire to follow your Holy Spirits leading today. Give me moments today of peace where I can be mindful of your presence with me today. Amen.
Fight. Every. Day.