Strong and Courageous

Written by: Steve Crowder

From his youth, Steve knew he was called into the ministry which ultimately led him to Applied Life Christian College in Arkansas. Now as Lead Pastor of Highway, after two decades of ministry experience, marriage and raising three kids, Steve teaches with unique insight and practical application.

June 26, 2023

Joshua 1:9 NIV “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.”

How would you define courage?  …The ability to stand up to an enemy? …The ability to do something you are afraid to do?…Taking action on what you believe? Life is full of moments where you have to put on a brave face. Do you know what I mean? From the first day of kindergarten to the challenges you’re facing right now, you’re not always sure you have what it takes. The reality is that as much as we want to be, we aren’t superman or wonder woman, and we don’t handle every situation without hesitation or anxiety. We face a scary world, challenging situations, and frustrating people. That is why I believe that so many people walk around dis-couraged. “Dis” means lack of or absence of courage. 

Many of us know about God’s power. We know about the power of prayer. Yet, we continue to allow fearful, panic-filled, or discouraging thoughts to overwhelm us. Jesus described many in our generation when He said, “in the last days, men would lose heart”. 

Formerly the assistant to the famous Moses, Joshua became known as a great military leader in Jewish history. As this transition of power and position was taking place, God gave Joshua this command to be strong and courageous. Not a request, but a command to demonstrate these two dynamic qualities of leadership. It doesn’t say it, but I believe that there’s a good chance that Joshua was discouraged. Why else would God have to COMMAND him NOT to be?!  Right? Maybe you’ve been put in a new leadership role on a team at work…It’s easy to question internally whether you have the goods or not in those moments. I personally have felt this all through my life as I took on new roles and assignments in ministry.

The psalmist wrote, “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)  

We need to eagerly expect God to act & to have courage to spring into action when He does! We need to be determined AND we need to be brave! To “be of good courage” is to possess an inner quality that enables a person to confront danger and difficulty without fear and with calmness, boldness, confidence, strength, and trust instead. Joshua needed courage to lead the nation of Israel into the promises of God! At one point in his ministry, Jesus told the disciples to “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid”

Whatever it is that you are facing this week, I want to en-courage you to “take courage” because you are not alone. Jesus is with you. He wants to strengthen your heart. So, give that speech, have that hard conversation, attempt something that you never thought you could do before, or be vocal to what you’re needing for once. Choose to be strong and courageous today as you face the world!

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