01 Jul Be Strong and Courageous – July 14
By Ferdinand Haratua
Christians often speak of being strong in God, but what does it really mean to be a strong person? Does being strong mean that we should always be fine and in control of our lives? After all, just ask the people in our church how are they doing, and we are likely to get the uniform echo of response that everything is just fine. But the reality is far from being just fine, many of us are hurting, stressed, and feeling hopeless. Sometimes, even the pressure to look strong when we are not, is wearing some of us out.
Why don’t we look at a story of Joshua for from it we may learn a few things about being strong and courageous.
After the death of Moses, his assistant Joshua, took over the leadership of more than a million wearied ex-slaves who have been freed from Egypt to enter a new life in the Promised Land. But before they can do so, first, they have to fight off all the enemies. Remember that the Israelites were not militaries, they were ex-slaves. We can only imagine the weight of responsibility that Joshua has to carry to be entrusted with such a mammoth task. If there is one thing we could say about Joshua at that very moment is that he was not fine. This is why we find three times in the opening nine verses of the book of Joshua, that God commanded him to “be strong and courageous.” Surely, there are lessons we could learn from this story.
First, being strong and courageous is about God. For Joshua, to be strong and courageous is about obeying God and leading the people to defeat the enemies. Being strong and courageous is not about Joshua, it is about obeying God no matter how big or impossible the tasks ahead might seem. Being strong and courageous has nothing to do with you and me, it has nothing to do with how fine we are doing in life, but has everything to do with our obedience to the Word of God. Joshua is strong not because he is, but because he obeys God.
Second, we can be strong and courageous because God is with us. Yes, we may be hurting right now, but also be strong at the same time. For being strong and courageous is not the absence of weakness and fear, but it is about the presence of God. God commanded Joshua not to be frightened because the Lord God promised to be with him wherever he goes. God promised Joshua of His very presence. God said to him, “Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”
Therefore, if we endure and persevere under trials, be rest assured that it is not because we are strong, but rather because God is faithful. For a strong Christian is not one who relies on his own strength, but on God’s. And a courageous Christian is not one who has no fear, but trusting God that He will be with him always.