JOSHUA 1:9 (NIV) Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
God COMMANDS us to be strong AND courageous. He also commands us to not be afraid or discouraged. This is a tall order for a mere human, but God does not require anything of His children that is impossible to carry out.
What is required to obey these commands? Faith! We need to have faith that God is a loving God. In addition, it is always wise to remember that God is not a liar; He cannot lie. Therefore, the promises of God and the attributes of God are all solid foundations upon which we can stand on and claim.
How do we achieve strength? By letting go of our own feeble attempts to be strong and asking God to fill us with His supernatural strength. Remember, when we are weak… He is strong!
Even with the strength of God within us, facing difficult circumstances will require courage on your part. Some of you may be facing an illness, death, addictions, abuse, unhappy marriages, and any number of other difficulties. Standing on the promise of God to enable us with His strength is one thing, but it is your faith that must propel you into action.
Many bible characters faced incredible hardships in the old and new testaments. But just as Paul, Daniel, and Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego believed they had the strength of God within them….. they still had to step out in their faith and be courageous. It took courage for them to follow through on the things God requested of them. It took an act of faith and will to overcome their fears. Courage is a personal act of will. You cannot be complacent and expect to be courageous.
When you do not know what to do, it is always perfectly fine to take some time to pray. He will lead you on your path and through the fires, but sometimes it takes patience to wait for His lead and direction. The answers to your questions may require a time of stillness. If you are a mover and a shaker this can be a real challenge.
You must remember that God is looking for faithful and willing vessels to do His bidding. Unfortunately, many of His children want to do the bare minimum to qualify for eternal life. They will find themselves flapping their arms in order to put out the fire on the hems of their clothing, upon reaching the Pearly Gates. Do you want to be someone who just makes it into heaven or do you want to help Him win others over to His Son Jesus Christ?
God tells us to be strong and this is possible with His strength. He tells us to be courageous but this requires an active role on our part. It is our faith in Him that will allow us to be brave. We have to accept His prompts and decide to “move out” and act. There will be seasons of waiting on God. Patience will be a necessary fruit of the Spirit so that we can correctly hear His instructions. He will lead us and direct us.
Finally, He commands us to not be discouraged. Waiting on the desires of our hearts can be discouraging. Not seeing the outcomes we expect can also be discouraging. We do not see the whole picture of things so what we think should occur may not be the right thing for all concerned. Trust that God has everything under control. Be brave when you step out to do His bidding and remember that He has the whole treasure map and you only have the blurry water soaked version that is very hard to read and understand.
PSALM 27:14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
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