Monday, July 23, 2018

Courageous Leading

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9
A little background story on today’s verse is that the Israelites, after escaping Pharaoh and his army, have been wandering in the wilderness, looking for the Promised Land. Moses has been their leader, but he has passed away.  As the book of Joshua opens, Joshua has been appointed the new leader of the Israelites. The Israelites encouraged Joshua to let him know that they would follow him the same way they did Moses, very good news to someone having to step into the role of another leader, leading the same group of people.  They encouraged Joshua to be strong and courageous, that God would be with him. Truly good words we can apply to our lives again and again. 

As Believers, we know the battle is already won.  But we will still find ourselves in the heat of plenty of battles along the path of life. Through these battles we will experience the victory of God in our lives.  
We have been armed with the sword of the spirit, the word of God, to confront the world around us and to fight with on the battlefields, but we must do so with a Holy boldness that only comes from God.  Fear that we cannot succeed is overcome by understanding God's plan and recognizing His provision for its accomplishment.  
We often feel that victory is our responsibility instead of God's.  Courage on our part is boldness to claim more than it is power to conquer.  God gave the promise of power in Joshua 1:5:  No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.
Our fear is the result of measuring OUR strength against the task instead of GOD'S POWER.  God has not called us to test our strength, but His. The Christian who clearly understands that He is doing GOD'S WORK in GOD'S POWER has a new source of courage. The man who stands in his own power to do the works of God will find himself consumed with spiritual pride, but the man who does the work of God in the power of God will glorify God.  
The beginning of courage is the deep understanding that we are doing God's work.  Fear may often be the result of not truly discerning whether or not we are doing God's will.  Fear may be of God and not of ourselves in this instance.  We should have a healthy fear of living outside of God’s will but not fear God as we would someone who wants to do us harm.  He loves us and wants us inside His will and grieves over our decisions that are not within His will.  
Don’t let fear overwhelm your courage.  We need courage to get through this life.  God is on our side, standing behind us and will give us the courage we need. Courage is a commandment of God.   Will God allow us to use fear as a reason for failing to witness to others or perform His work?  No, it is only an excuse.  Courage is the product of faith, and God can command us to courage because He commands us to have FAITH in HIM.  Our fear is the product of an inadequate vision of God and nothing less.  When our vision of God is less than what He really is, fear rules.  How far can you trust God in the circumstances and the mission of your life? The same God that can heal the body and give you a job can lead you to evangelism and missions. He gives us Holy boldness to proclaim His love and salvation to a desperately hurting world.
Scripture to Claim: For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.  II Timothy 1:7

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