STRENGTH TO HAVE COURAGE
9 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.” Joshua 1:9
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Today, I just wanted to start with the Serenity Prayer. I think that maybe all of us need to take a second each day and just pause and breathe. I know that many of you have heard me say that in so many ways, but I think that is the best way to start our days. In everything that we are doing now, we have to really take a moment and step back and realize that the importance of how we start our day or how we approach a situation is HUGE. If we are really wanting to see real change occur, that means that we are going to have to start praying for STRENGTH to have COURAGE to change.
I love talking about the power and strength of God. Even though there are times that we are unable to see it in so many ways, God's strength is all around us. I mean the power of God to continue to maintain peace in the chaos, to help people to overcome in their darkest hours, to take what the world means for evil and watch as God steps into the moment and turns it into a testimony of the POWER of God blows my mind. I continue to read throughout the Scriptures of God's people stepping out with courage and claiming victory out of the chaos. The battle is already in God's hands and God is never going to be defeated. See all throughout Scripture the only times that God's people failed were the times when they did not have the courage to believe that God was going to do what God said He was going to do. We can see it countless times in the Scriptures and if we are honest we can probably see it countless times throughout the history of the Church.
Now, understand that I am not saying that the Church has not had the courage to step out in faith, but what I am saying is that many times it seems more as a last resort instead of stepping into the situation claiming the POWER of God! I know that may seem crazy, but there are many times throughout my ministry opportunities, I have watched as the Church has waited and been reactionary instead of being PROACTIVE in the moment. Hear me
again, I am NOT saying that we have to be the first ones out the door to prove a point, but I do believe that we are able to draw from the STRENGTH that God has given us and the countless examples that God is going to be with us and realize that we just need the COURAGE to step out of the boat and say, "OK, here we go!" I guess sometimes I just get into these times in joy life where I struggle to see opportunities where we can make a difference and experience God's true blessings if we listen and believe in what God says. Look at the second part of verse 9 again, "Don't be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord Your God will be with you WHEREVER you go!" After Joshua has already told three times in a row to be strong and courageous, I don't know why it takes us so long to get the point to live a life boldly for the GOSPEL.
Be STRONG.... and draw from the STRENGTH that God has given us to have the COURAGE to step into the next stage of our faith journey. There is a part in Scripture that tells us that we have to move from milk to solid food if we are EVER going to grow in our faith. Once again that means that we have to step out of our comfort zone and take COURAGE to move forward. It's not a difficult concept. See to me Courage is not the fact that you don't recognize the fear in the situation... Courage is the ability, in spite of the fear, to continue to move forward regardless of the outcome. It is seeing the opportunity and drawing from the assurance of God and realizing that we may falter but in Christ we CANNOT FAIL. If it is just failure we are worried about, then stop worrying. WE WILL FAIL... We will experience pain, hurt, uncertainty and defeat. We will be in moments where we cannot see any way out, but that is when we draw from the Strength of GOD and step out on Courage. Joshua was constantly battling that with God's people. He continued to live a life that was dedicated to the victory of God. Earlier in the Scripture Joshua continues to remind them about the power of God's Strength that lives and dwells in them. That same STRENGTH and COURAGE also live is in each and every one one us. Joshua is continuing to remind them that God has already claimed VICTORY.. all they had to do was step out and receive it.
The same is true with us. God has already claimed victory of all of our situations. It doesn't mean that we are not going to walk through the uncertainty. What is means is that GOD promises to NEVER LEAVE ALONE. God will continue to walk by our side and offer guidance if we have the COURAGE to follow God's lead. It is not easy.. It never will be easy to truly let everything go for GOD. That is because we are so ensnared by the power of the world. But as Joshua would later say to God's people after they had already been delivered from slavery, after they had already been fed and been delivered from the wilderness, after they had complained and continuously watched GOD use HIS STRENGTH to get them out of countless situations... there still came a point and time when a decision had to be made. Later in Joshua 24, Joshua states, "Choose this day whom you will serve, but for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." The same choice is up to you right now. You are standing with the greatest decision you have to make... Keep living in the world or draw STRENGTH to have COURAGE to choose to follow and serve the Lord. NOW IS THE TIME... WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR TO MAKE YOUR DECISION?