Have you ever had to do something but didn’t feel equipped or have the courage to try for fear of failure or ridicule? Or perhaps, you have a dream but getting there is a big step and you wonder if it’s even possible. Fear of failure OR fear of success can stand in your way.
Fear of not being smart enough, having enough experience, or not being educated enough, and on and on, can hold you back from the purpose and design God has created for you. These lessons of courage from the life of Joshua will encourage you to be strong and very courageous.
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As a parent, there may be conversations that you don’t know how to have with your children or spouse. Situations that you don’t know how to react to. Things you wish you would have done differently.
In my job as a school administrator, I have dealt with a lot of these scenarios. Over the past 10 years, some parts of the job have come fairly easily, but other parts of the job have led me down the path of feeling insecure about my abilities and knowledge.
Several years ago, I had a very difficult situation that needed to be addressed. Because of my position, it was my job to have a difficult conversation and layout the potential consequences for the individual.
It wasn’t a situation that I had to address immediately and so I took it home with me. I slept with it, I dreamed about it, I carried it around on my shoulders for weeks. My husband listened to the saga, I asked for advice from trusted advisors, and I knew what needed to be said and done.
When Your Courage is Gone
Fear of criticism. Fear of the outcome. Fear of reaction of the individuals. Fear of the reaction from those who only knew one side of the story. So many things to be afraid of!
As a result, the situation grew into a huge issue in my head and in my life. It started to affect my whole life. I was on the verge of crying all the time. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I was exhausted from thinking about all the possible scenarios and collecting information.
One day as I was talking to a colleague, he mentioned that I might have come to the position for a situation like this. God had a plan and He would provide. The situation wasn’t about me at all, but rather about the individual.
Lessons from the Life of Joshua
Joshua’s story in the Bible is a wonderful place to look for courage. The book of Joshua doesn’t specifically tell us that Joshua was afraid, but over and over again God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous.
This is stated four times in the first chapter alone and is stated over and over again throughout the book of Joshua. This makes me think that Joshua might have been fearful or worried about his ability to lead or do the job he had been asked to do.
He had been given the job of taking the Israelites into the Promised Land. Joshua was asked to finish the job that Moses had started but because of his choices, he wasn’t allowed to cross over.
Joshua was now given this responsibility that Moses – with 40 years of experience – wasn’t able to complete. His insecurities might have been getting in the way of the calling God had placed on him.
I can picture Joshua inside his tent talking to his wife and shedding tears in fear of what God had asked him to do. Things he hadn’t done before. Things he didn’t know how to do. He is supposed to chase out all the people of the land! That is pretty big!
His friend and mentor, Moses, had just died so he’s dealing with grief as well.
The people might compare his work with Moses’ work. “But Moses always did it this way….” All those voices in his head were discouraging him from the job God was equipping him to do.
God came to Joshua and reminded and instructed him.
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
Be Strong and Courageous
If God came to you today and said these words to you, what situation might He be addressing for you? He’s probably not asking you to bring down the walls of Jericho.
He’s also probably not asking you to lead thousands of Israelites and get them on the same page about crossing a river into the Promised Land. Although, getting your kids ready and in the car on a school morning may feel like that!
God may be asking you to….
- do something hard!
- do something you’ve never done before.
- start the healing process in a broken relationship.
- fight for your marriage.
- move out of your comfort zone and allow Him to lead you into something new and beautiful.
Whatever the future holds, God will be with you, wherever you go. He will not leave your side. The story of Joshua gives so much encouragement because Joshua was a real person with real fears. Fears that were well-founded.
Joshua had spied out the land 40 years before and had seen the walled cities, the giants in the land, and the enemies they were asked to overtake. He had also seen the goodness of the land and the goodness of the Lord. For forty years, he had carried faith around.
Joshua knew God would help them succeed. Joshua’s life was a testimony to his faith in God.
Because he trusted God to be with him, he had the strength and courage to ask the sun to stand still. He took his army and marched around Jericho for 7 days while the enemies were on the wall above them watching and possibly throwing rocks, arrows, and insults down on them.
Yet, he had the courage to continue and see the Lord work on their behalf.
Joshua 1:9 – Joshua 19 Reflecting on the Life of Joshua
By the end of the book of Joshua, all the tribes of Israel have been given their parcels of land. The enemies have been driven out and the land is free from war. The crops are growing, the people are settled into their new homes in their own towns and cities.
Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. ~ Joshua 21:45
Joshua’s time as a leader was almost finished. He had completed the jobs God had given him. He had fulfilled the purpose that God had for him. Joshua 19 relates that Joshua was included in the distribution and given land and inheritance just like the twelve tribes.
As he reviewed the great things God had done for them he reminded the people of God’s leading. He encouraged them to “be very strong” to follow God’s law and reminded them once again about God’s promises and their fulfillment.
You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. ~ Joshua 23:14
Through all of the challenges, scary situations, criticism, insecurities, and questioning, Joshua remained true to God. Joshua looked for God’s promises and remembered the fulfillment of those promises over the years.
Courage comes from seeing God’s promises fulfilled. We have to be intentional about keeping track of those promises. Those answers to prayer to bring down the walls of the Jericho cities in our life.
As you look back at how God has provided for you and taken care of you, you can then move forward with courage, knowing that He will be with you, even if you are afraid.
Even if the job seems too big or too scary, God will go with you. If you are following God’s leading, He will create a beautiful story in the end.
Three Lessons of Courage From the Story of Joshua.
- 1 ~ Courage comes from knowledge and relationship.
Joshua knew God and knew that He was directing him to do specific things. He wasn’t blindly going about his own agenda and then expecting God to fight for him. No, he was waiting for God’s direction and then following what God was asking him to do.
Being courageous is moving forward when you know that you are doing the right thing – the job God has given you to do.
- 2 ~ Courage comes from past experience.
Joshua had seen God’s leading and promises for many, many years. He knew that God could be trusted. He knew that God would continue to lead even if Joshua felt inadequate and fearful. Joshua realized that God’s plan was best.
Marching around a city for seven days didn’t make much sense when Joshua knew he was supposed to overtake the city. But He knew that following God’s direction would result in the best outcome.
- 3 ~ Courage comes through practice and reminders.
There are nine times in the book of Joshua where God reminds Joshua to be strong or be courageous. You may not hear God whisper in your ear or speak from a mountaintop, but there are ways you can hear these reminders as well.
People in your life may be encouragers or inspirers when you are feeling afraid. Search for and claim Bible promises to hear God’s encouragement.
Look for verses that speak to your specific need or situation. Memorize them, write them out and put them on your bathroom mirror, on your steering wheel, on the wallpaper of your computer or phone.
Surround yourself with those reminders that God is with you and will help you.
Moving Ahead with Courage
What are you afraid of that seems too big to do? What do you feel God calling you to do that you are fearful about? Start writing down the times in the past where you have seen God leading you, where you have seen direct answers to prayer.
Write these down and start your own story of courage. Write down some Bible promises that apply to your situation. Start reading the book of Joshua and think about Joshua being afraid and insecure.
God has an amazing plan for you and your life. He has plans for you that are so amazing that you can’t even begin to dream them. He doesn’t want you to be held back by fear.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you.” Declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11-14
What would you do if you knew…
- the walls of Jericho would fall down after seven days?
- that God would be found if you seek him?
- God had called you to do something hard?
- all of God’s promises would come true?
Wait a minute. You do know this! God’s promises are true and He is waiting for you to seek Him. He has been with you in the past. That means He will also be with you in the future.
No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. 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. Be strong and very courageous. ~ Joshua 1:5-7
As a mom, you are leading the army of your family to inherit the land. You have the job of fighting daily battles, working against the enemies that would break apart your home and distract from the goal.
Have courage today, God is on your side. He will be with you today. He will be with you tomorrow. Be strong and very courageous!
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