Here's How to Grow in Courage
How courageous are you?
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
How courageous are you? Are you winning the battle with fear? How do you respond when God leads you to a role that is beyond what you can do in your own strength?
When God gives the vision, He also gives the provision. In the Bible, God has a track record of challenging men to fully rely on Him. Walking by faith means dropping our pride and finding supernatural resources. Joshua and Gideon are two men who learned how to accomplish great victories for the Lord. Let's learn from their experiences as we grow in our faith and bring glory to Jesus today.
God gives an assignment to every man. Have you found out what God has called you to do in this season of your life? Your assignment probably has many parts. Loving your family, serving your church, using your spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ, giving generously, reaching the nations, sharing your testimony, praying for your neighbors, being His ambassador in the marketplace, raising children, tackling injustice, and inviting people into your home are some examples of ways God asks us to expand His kingdom. When God guides you, it is always for His glory and our good.
Joshua was given an assignment from heaven to lead God's people into the promised land (Deuteronomy 34:1-9). Following an amazing leader like Moses, uniting and inspiring about 2 million people, miraculously crossing the Jordan River during flood season, surviving fierce battles, and staying close with God through countless trials was difficult. In addition, no one had ever done this before. Being the first one to do something or accomplish what other people failed to do can be intimidating. Joshua also had to form a new team after the old leaders died in the wilderness. Can you imagine having his responsibility? Can you relate to any elements of his mission?
Gideon was very surprised that God chose him to rescue people. He was careful about accepting his assignment. He felt like God selected the wrong person. The nation was in danger. Spiritually, people had turned away from God often. They wandered away from God. There were many military threats from other countries, and invasions were devastating. Would you want Gideon's assignment? Where would you find hope to overcome all of your insecurities? Is your walk with God solid enough to bring healing to a nation?
Do you come up with excuses in your own mind? What do you tell yourself? Is fear trying to steal your peace and threaten your assignment? How would you live for Jesus if fear was not a factor?
Wrestling with worry and insecurities are common. In the Bible, men like Joshua, David, Paul, Moses and Abraham are very honest about their struggles. Are you trying to dodge or hide from God's calling on your life?
Gideon had a long list of reasons why he should not be faithful with His assignment. (Judges 6:1-18) He wanted more reassurance from God and more miraculous signs to confirm his calling. We should not put God to the test. Being demanding when God has made it clear in His Word is unhealthy. Gideon was discouraged about the present circumstances, but God made it clear He was with Gideon. Gideon felt like his family was dysfunctional and he was the weakest one in his clan. God listened to Gideon but then said that Gideon was a mighty warrior. God's view of Gideon was far more encouraging than how Gideon saw himself. Sometimes we need to shift and simply receive and agree with God's perspective. It's the only way to overcome our lame and stubborn excuses. Are you willing to be in alignment with God's Word instead of remaining loyal to cowardly excuses? God wants to bring you a new courage that is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. (Ephesians 1:15-23)
Joshua learned to stay in the presence of God. He stayed in the Tent of Meeting to worship, to listen and to receive God's strength (Exodus 33:9-11). Joshua had a mentor named Moses, and he would watch as Moses communicated with God. Do you have a mentor in your life who will help you go deeper with God? Are you learning how to draw near to God and find encouragement in Him?
Joshua won the battle in his mind. He did this by meditating on God's Word. (Joshua 1:6-7) The most intense spiritual battle is often in your head. The devil tries to plant lies and discouragement into your thinking. (John 8:44) The Holy Spirit will help you. He is stronger than the darkness in this world. The Spirit and the Scripture are always in alignment. Read and memorize the Bible because it is your sword in the battle against darkness. Remember to live out what you learn. Studying the Bible is not merely an academic exercise. God moves mightily when you are obedient with application, too. (Ezra 7:10) God's Word is truth and builds up your courage. How much time are you spending in Scripture during the week? How can you increase your intake of God's Word?
Gideon learned to accomplish victories God's way. He defeated the Midianites with lanterns and trumpets. (Judges 7:19-25) What kind of a military strategy is that? God's wisdom is not always the popular, likely, or logical way. Many people hear a clear assignment from God but then try to achieve the results with their own plan. That is a recipe for disaster and heartache. It is very important to rely on God for the “what” and the “how” of the mission. Good intentions and good effort alone will not be enough. You need heavenly wisdom and insights (James 1:5).
A Joyful Reset
Today can be the start of a new season in your life. There is new hope and power through Jesus. God is with you and goes ahead of you. Start this new adventure in your life by putting your trust in Jesus as the savior and leader of your life. You can not do life or eternity without Him. As you follow Jesus, make some key shifts in your life. Grow in your faith by spending more time in prayer, including listening to God. Also, find other courageous Christians (like Joshua and Gideon were) in a healthy church and serve Jesus together. Lastly, devote time to reading and applying the Bible. It is your playbook, and the results will be amazing when you honor God's Word. You are a courageous man in the Lord. Don't settle for anything less than your calling. The Holy Spirit will write the script and empower you to accomplish the assignment. (Acts 1:8) Many lives will be transformed, including yours because God is trustworthy and good.
Pray this week:
Lord, I want to be courageous for you like Joshua, and faithful to obey you like Gideon. Forgive me when I only rely on my own strength. Please lead me with your Word, prayer, the power of your Holy Spirit and fellowship with others who courageously follow you. Amen.
You cannot do life or eternity without Jesus. What will you start doing today to know him better and trust him more?