One of the greatest heroes of the Old Testament needed a serious dose of courage. Joshua was given an impossible task to perform with an improbable people. God knew Joshua’s concerns and his fears but God also knew what Joshua was able to accomplish. Before Joshua took command of Israel, God spoke to him.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged, for the LORD you God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
God had already given Joshua the command to lead Israel into the Promised Land. It was a command that required a great commitment. Joshua needed to lead Israel into battle against some of the strongest armies they would ever face. God gives Joshua five principles for leadership and for victory.
- Be Strong . In a world that calls for compromise at every turn, Christians need to stand strong. Strength is not just about the amount of weight you might be able to lift. Strength is also about personal endurance, mental toughness and emotional stability. Joshua would need all these facets of strength to move the people of Israel forward to follow God.
- Be Courageous. Courage is the ability to face down your fears and overcome them. Courage gives us the ability to stand firm when everyone around us is giving in. Courage is the raw desire and determination to stay on course with God regardless of the personal cost.
- Do Not Be Afraid. Fear can hold us back in life more than any other emotion. Fear can keep us from moving forward with God because when we are focused on fear we cannot walk in faith. Faith and fear do not and cannot mix. We will either give in to our fears or we will overcome them through faith. This was the lesson that Joshua needed to learn that day. When God calls us to act, we cannot be afraid because if He has called us, He will also be with us.
- Do not be discouraged. Discouragement is a disease of the heart, the soul, the mind and the spirit. Discouragement will drain a person of every positive thought that they possess and create a negative spirit around them. When discouragement strikes we need a fresh supply of courage to be injected into our lives. Encouragement is simply the process of being filled with courage. Discouragement is the process of being sapped of your courage.
- Remember you are never alone. Joshua felt alone, Moses had died and now he was expected to lead Israel. God was giving Joshua a reminder that nothing would ever cause God to leave his side. Joshua was given a formula for spiritual success. If Joshua made the choice to follow God every day, he would not fail in life. The same is true for us today.
God offers us strength, encouragement and the promise of His presence through every circumstance in life. The choice is ours, we can walk with God or we can walk on our own. Which do you choose?