“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. 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.”
Joshua 1:6-9 NLT
Joshua is about to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Three times God challenges him to be strong and courageous. God knows what is ahead and knows it will take a lot of courage to possess the land.
Forty years earlier, the children of Israel were in this same position. Moses had led them out of Egyptian slavery to the Promised Land. Moses sent twelve spies to check out the land. Ten of the spies came back with a bad report of doubt and fear, saying the people were too big to conquer. Only two of the spies—Joshua and Caleb—had the courage to believe God could give them the land.
After forty years, an entire generation has died. The land in front of the children of Israel was the same. There were giants in the land and cities with great walls of protection. It was going to require a lot of courage.
Fear is very different from courage. Fear is an instinct. Fear jumps on us involuntarily. Something happens, and fear will cause us to have a fight or flight reaction. Some people get angry when afraid and lash out at everybody and everything. Others want to hide and disappear. It is instinct. We don’t think or process our plan; we just react.
Courage is a choice. We must choose to be courageous. Courage does not remove fear; it just makes a mental decision not to allow instinct to dominate our choices and actions. Courage chooses to focus not on the problem but the potential.
Joshua had learned the lesson of perspective forty years earlier when he was one of the twelve spies. He saw the same problems as the other spies, but he chooses to focus on the land’s potential and the promise of God.
We must do likewise. We must make a daily choice for courage—the courage to keep moving forward in our pain, disappointment, hurt, and loss. We can’t allow fear to cause us to run and hide or get angry at everyone. We must choose courage.
Holy Spirit, I want to be a person of courage. I want to be the one who sees the possibility, potential, and promises of God. I want to be a conqueror.
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