A friend of mine decided to go sky-diving one day. The adventure started with a little interview. The videographer asked my friend how he felt about jumping from a little plane at 15,000 feet. I remember him telling her he was afraid of heights. She asked him why he was doing it then. “Because I am afraid,” he said. And I realized that was courage. Not the absence of fear but a willingness to do something despite the fear.
The Bible has many verses encouraging people to be courageous and not be afraid. One of my favorites is the encouragement God gives Joshua.
God had chosen Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land after the death of Moses. God repeatedly tells Joshua to be strong and courageous. The reason for this repetition is to encourage and empower Joshua for the challenging task ahead of him.
I’d like us to take encouragement from these words. God said, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.” That’s Joshua 1:5-6. Then, again, in the next verse. “Be strong and very courageous.” And, yet again, two verses later. “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’s words to Joshua are words to us. We live in challenging times that will get more difficult in the coming days, especially when we go out with the gospel message to an increasingly rebellious world. Jesus warned us: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18-19). But then he assures us. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart (In other words, take courage)! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Did you think following Christ meant merely going to church once a week? It’s to do the will of God, and the will of God is to collaborate with him in his plan of salvation. We will be choosing to do this in a few days. In the meantime, let us choose courage, taking more encouragement from God’s words. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
God bless you.