“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 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 1:6 – 9
In many ways, adversity is like boot camp — it is rigorous, painful and challenging. Difficulties cause us to adopt new routines and habits; to mature in physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of our being; and to grow in our relationship with the Lord.
During times of trial, we need to remain courageous and faithful. We also must stay steadfast in our devotion to the Lord as we battle feelings of doubt, fear and limitation. He will provide the strength and hope not only to endure the hardship, but to make the changes that are required of us so we can claim the blessings of God.
Thankfully, we can trust the Holy Spirit to “transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21) — to change us so we live a life honoring our Savior, Jesus Christ, and face every hurdle with valor.
As a close associate of Moses, Joshua had grown in his faith and leadership abilities — he also knew all about adversity. Without question, the forty years of wandering in the wilderness had subjected him to physical, relational, spiritual, emotional and mental hardships that helped him to understand the harsh realities of pain and suffering. Yet Joshua also knew that the Lord was with him and the nation of Israel. This assurance gave him all he needed to persevere, no matter how difficult the situation became.
When the time came for the people of God to cross the Jordan River and inhabit the land of promise, the Lord named Joshua as the leader to succeed Moses and admonished him about being courageous:
• “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them” (Joshua 1:6).
• “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey the law my servant Moses gave you” (Joshua 1:7).
• “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid . . . for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
Note the three things that required Joshua to be brave: (1) making decisions that affected other people under his leadership; (2) keeping the laws and commandments, even as changes occurred; and (3) remembering continually that the Lord was with him, despite what circumstances might indicate to the contrary.
There will be times when each one of us needs courage in exactly the same three areas. The storms of life strike without warning, and we find ourselves crying out to God. We need his wisdom, hope and assurance. And when we measure life’s challenges and trials against his mighty power, we gain the courage we need to proceed on to triumph because he has already won the eternal victory for us.
Article drawn from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, NIV Edition.