"This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NLT
Courage. When you think of courage, what do you think about? Is it the man in combat, running into the battle to save his buddy? Is it the man who sacrifices a great paying job so that he can spend more time with his family or pursue a dream? Perhaps it's the man who admits to a mistake he made or a problem that he just can seem to beat on his own? Regardless of what you picture in your mind, courage is something that we all admire. It's also something we all strive to see in action in our own lives.
I spent too many years living in fear. Fear that I might be asked to perform some task that I would fail at miserably. Fearful that people would know that I didn’t know what I was doing. Afraid to reach for my highest dreams. But I realized that living that way was nothing but a dead end. Not only was I not living to my full potential, but I was robbing my family, friends, and church of all that God made me capable of doing.
But at one point in my life, a friend of mine said that he believed I wasn't living up to my full potential. He told me that he thought I was holding back from all that I could be and challenged me to face my fear. It was the one of the most loving things anyone has done for me. I took his advice and began to challenge all the preconceived notions that I held about myself and my life. What I found was that I was afraid to fail and about what other people thought of me.
Once I came to that understanding, I knew I didn't want to live that way anymore. I wanted all that God had for me. I wanted to stop living a fear-based life and instead be the kind of man I only dreamed about becoming. I wanted to be a man of courage and passion.
In the Bible, in the first chapter of the book of Joshua, God urges Joshua to be " strong and courageous." You could very easily think that you are to do this in your own strength. But in the passage, God reminds Joshua to be this way because He would be with him. The key to Joshua's strength and courage was not found in some inner reservoir of power, but rather in the reality of God's presence in his life. Joshua's courage was based on a relationship with God.
How do you do this? Here are three things you can put into place right now:
1. Pray and read your Bible daily. Relationships take time and effort. Your relationship with God is no different. Invest in time alone with Him through prayer and learn about Him through the Word.
2. Confess and repent of your sin. You have to come clean if you want to experience the best. God can and will forgive you. Nothing you have done shocks God - He already knows about it! So stop hiding in your shame and move into the light.
3. Forgive yourself. Too many men simply won't forgive themselves for their past failures. If you hold onto them, you will never move beyond them. If God can forgive you, so can you!
Are you wanting to live the strong and courageous life? Are you tired of being less than you know you are capable of? Do you want to begin living the passionate and vibrant life that God has called you to? Do you want the courageous life? If so, then you must lay down your fear and inadequacy, your past failures and look to God. In trusting Him with your life, like Joshua, you can lead the courageous life and watch God work mightily through you.
This is just a start. But every great journey starts with the first step. So, start walking. Don't look back. Be strong and courageous, for God is with you, every step of the way!
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