Joshua 1:9 says: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
I have struggled my whole life with fear. Talking with someone a while back, I discovered that I have been afraid of everything except…butterflies. Butterflies? Is that really what I came up with? Well, maybe it’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not too much. I have a tendency to be a very timid person.
Maybe that’s why I like the story of Joshua so much. I think Joshua was a lot like me. God had to tell Him at least three times in a row to be courageous and to not be afraid. Why would He do that? Well, as far as I can tell, you don’t tell a brave person to be courageous. You tell someone who is shaking uncontrollably to be courageous. Yet in spite of all his fears, God chose HIM to lead the nation of Israel into the Promised Land.
It’s also incredible to me that God commands Joshua to be courageous. So many times I pray, “Lord, give me courage,” as if courage is like a cup of sugar passed around from one person to the next. It’s as if God is saying to Joshua, “Choose courage, not fear.” I wonder what it would mean in my life if I were to choose to be courageous more, and decided not to be afraid as often. When you think about it, we as followers of Christ have placed our lives in the Almighty’s hands. We are no longer our own, and we do not stand alone. Nothing can touch us apart from the will of God. If we have fully surrendered ourselves to whatever it is that God would ask of us or that He allows to come our way, then we have no reason to stay afraid of anything. The only choice we have is to take the emotion of fear and choose courage instead.
One of my favorite lines in the Britt Nicole song “Walk on the Water” is this one: You don’t have to be afraid. That line rocked my world. When we are afraid of something, it seems to us that we have no other option but to be afraid. However, God speaks a different truth into our lives: you don’t have to be afraid. It is His desire for us that we grow in our trust in His sovereignty to the point that we can see fear for what it is: powerless in the presence of God. I want to live my life courageously.
What have you been facing recently that has left you trembling and afraid? Be encouraged by this command from God: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”