“Be strong and very courageous – keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; 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. 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 1:7-9
Are you strong and courageous?
Most would agree that we know courage when we see it. But in today’s world the game they play is to confuse definitions – so let’s start with the dictionary to keep our mind clear. Courage – the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Bravery is to have the courage of one’s convictions, to act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism. Also: valor, fearlessness, daring, boldness, grit, heroism, gallantry.
I must admit that I often fall short. But one might think — “not me, I just do it” and “that’s always worked for me.” But then again, you know that — it’s not true. Absolutes like … “always” can truly only apply to God.
The problem is that we are naturally programmed with beliefs and desires contrary to God and His eternal truth.
But wait … God’s command for strength and courage here is so different from what we have naturally come to understand and believe. And so it is with the things of the Spirit. God always has a better plan for those who choose to love and follow Him.
How would God have us be strong and courageous?
Here it is … Know God’s truth. Meditate on it day and night. Be careful to trust and obey God’s teachings. Then you will be prosperous and successful. God will always be with you.
Jesus is the Truth. He is our rock and the foundation of our belief system. God came as a man and He was victorious over all that is in the world – therefore when we stand upon His truth we will never lose. And this is why we can have real courage, because of Jesus, because of his victory over death, and His promises.
How do you know you are right, some ask? Your religion is only one among thousands. Because I believed in Jesus, and He has revealed Himself to me. The Creator God is not just another religion; but rather He is the eternal truth. Jesus can never lie. On the other hand, religions like philosophies, feelings, and other teachings of men often stand between God and men.
A big lie that will never be demonstrated is that the bible was written by men, and that it is filled with errors and contradictions. The truth is just the opposite. God is Spirit and God spoke through men and men will confuse, but they can never change the truth. And His word is eternal truth regardless of the errors, failings, and schemes of men. “All scripture is inspired by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16
And courage comes from a strong foundation of truth.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” Matthew 7:24-27
Jesus is our strength and courage here and now. Prayer is for our benefit so that we might gain courage. But only when the focus of our prayer is the Creator, rather than the challenge set before us will we not be afraid. “And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Matthew 14:29-30
The Cowardly Lion often comes to mind. The lion is a good example of how unbelievers will one day appear standing before the Creator — fearful, cowardly, and foolish. Everyone wants courage, and all like the lion are consciously or unconsciously searching for the truth. For the lion, as it turned out that once he believed – he became strong and courageous. But not really, since his faith was focused on the conjecture of man. But that’s only a fantasy, you say? And we are reality. Hasn’t in fact each one established beliefs that are leading their reality? And so many like the lion are the god of their own reality, or perhaps they follow a wizard and his false teachings.
But we can stand on the real life examples of truth and courage such as Daniel and the lion’s den, the fiery furnace, Moses, Gideon, Noah, Joshua, Joseph, David, John, Peter, Paul and millions of others who are unending evidence demanding a verdict – standing firm on God’s truth for eternity. But make no mistake – all are following; some consciously, some unconsciously;and often without a thought.
The question we all must ask is this: What are my core values? Am I better off bumbling along like the cowardly lion, a mere wandering generality; or am I more valuable than random chance? God created us in His image, and far different from the animals. He created us with a soul and a spirit. We are in God’s likeness mentally, and morally. He gave us the ability to reason, build, and the freedom of choice. And the idea that man evolved from animals or dirt is a lie from the evil one. Why would anyone want to believe that? Soul and spirit makes us forever special and unique.
Many are brave and courageous humanly speaking, but regardless of greatness none will truly win apart from Christ.
But I still don’t understand Christian courage – you say?
Oh, I hear you – one never will understand God’s ways when they reason in their old ways of thinking, and that includes misguided well meaning believers. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Romans 12:2 – so that we might have the “mind of Christ” 1 Corinthians 2:16. And those believers who pretend otherwise are unwittingly false guides.
And the strength and courage God speaks of here is needed over and over again every day; as our new thinking comes up against our old thinking, feelings, fears, logic, pride, lust, the views of those who don’t believe, and of those who falsely believe, and against all of the temptations of the lost world.
And the good news is that victory is always certain since Jesus was victorious over death once for all. We only must claim it, abide above, and rest in Him.
But friends will think I’ve lost my mind you say?
Yes, and that for eternity.
And Jesus said …
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:16-27
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Grace and Peace to you my friends,
Bob West – Geezerdust.com©