"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
The question from the Lord, “Have I not commanded you?” is spoken to every believer in Jesus Christ. The next question is, “Did you hear Him say, “Be strong and of good courage, do not be afraid nor be dismayed?” Here is why: “…for the Lord, Your God is with you wherever you go.” The Old Testament commandment, connected to the promise given to Joshua, is the same for us today.
Courage is living every day with thanksgiving, peace and joy, regardless of what is going on in your life or in the world. A courageous life-style is not boring! It is a life of adventure; a celebration to experience the Holy Spirit working through us to experience love in every task we put our hand to.
Courage is taking Psalm 23:5 and developing it into a personal life-style. The Lord prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. He has anointed me with oil; my cup runs over. When anointed with oil, we are filled with the Holy Spirit. He causes our cup to run over with supernatural peace, improved health, renewed youth and unconditional love for people. The Psalm 23:5 life-style was given to us as a normal way of life, not just occasionally.
Why are so few people living in a state of ‘my cup runs over’? It is always because of one word, SIN. Sin is missing the mark. Many sins are not recognized as sin and rob us of a joyful life. Some examples are:
1. Judging life as difficult. Most people talk about their challenges, delays or difficulties without asking, “Why do I call life hard?” Calling life hard is not scriptural. Believers in Christ should call life a time of experiencing the Holy Spirit, who makes everything interesting and joyful. We should view circumstances as our teacher, not our defeater. When we view times as strain or struggle, we act like God is not real. No matter what, take a moment to be aware of God’s presence. He never leaves us nor forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). Lord Jesus Christ, forgive me for judging life as hard and complaining. I now am fully persuaded in my mind that life is my teacher (Romans 14:5). From now on, I call life interesting and an adventure of joy. Because of You, I can do all things with joy and peace.
2. Judging ourselves or others as lacking, insecure or unworthy. Because we do not belong to ourselves, we dare nor judge ourselves or others. “…you are not your own. You were bought at a price.” I Corinthians 6:19-20. Judging and forming opinions about ourselves or others is sin. The only opinion we should adapt to is God’s opinion. Because of Jesus Christ, we are always acceptable to Him. God’s grace is a gift, not a reward for good works. Practice living in the gifted position, Christ in you and you in Christ. The gifted position is a magnet for God’s blessing to overflow into our lives.
3. Hidden pride. Much time is spent in what I call the graveyard, the old is dead. Working in the graveyard are attempts to improve ourselves, protect ourselves or fix ourselves and others. Pride makes us to think we know everything and feel right about it. The need to be right is an open door to the graveyard. Be aware of self-pity when you do not get your way. By the revelation of the Holy Spirit as your excellent life, you can say ‘no’ to the urge to always be right.
Create a definition of courage for yourself. This is mine: Courage is a thanksgiving attitude in a ‘no matter what’ world. We cannot predict if the next phone call might be an unexpected surprise or bad news. But, with revelation of the Holy Spirit who lives within, we can choose the response according to God’s Word and resist the urge to return to old patterns. Wait a moment and declare trust in God, He is always there to be our helper (Hebrews 13:6). Stop thinking you have the right to react in ways that could be wrong. Drift away from negative reactions when a surprise or bad news arises. Train yourself to act according to Romans 8:28. I know that all things work together for good to me because I love God and I am called according to His purpose. God’s purpose for you is to look up and say, “No matter what, this is a pattern working for my good and I will see God’s greatness appear in my life.”
Lord Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit released in me as my excellent life, I do not work in the graveyard. I focus on the provisions of God’s promises to me. Thank you no matter what, my cup runs over. Thank you. Amen.