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.” Joshua 1:9
I want to be strong. Don’t you? I mean, who sets a goal to become the ultimate weakling? We want to be strong!
We live in a culture which strives for strength – physical, financial, intellectual – even emotional. And why do people desire strength – followers of Jesus or not? It’s our desire to live problem free and absent of all worry, fear and anxiety. It’s our quest to be in control and above anything which could possibly take us down.
Just a casual review of media advertisements and entertainment options provides proof that human beings value strength. Our culture tells us that more education will help us get more money. More money will gain us more power. More power will create popularity. More popularity will provide community.
If we listen to the voices of the world we will find ourselves on a hamster wheel spinning for more. Striving. Achieving. Climbing. Stepping over and on top of someone else to get to the top to prove we are STRONG.
It’s all a lie. A big fat media hyped advertising lie! And the false promise that we’ll all be happy, successful, prosperous and united at the end of our striving for more? Well, just look at the state of our country. We’re a mess of division, distrust and intolerance. People in general are more stressed, on more medication, and filled with immeasurable anxiety over the future.
The thing is we know it’s a lie. We know it’s stinkin’ thinkin’. Yet even when we agree that the wheel isn’t making us stronger, we find it difficult to step off. We want to BE STRONG!
Besides, God tells us in His Word to be strong. Over and over again, scriptures admonish us to “be not afraid” and to “be strong”. “Be courageous”. It’s what we’re supposed to do. The way we’re supposed to live. We quote. We write. We memorize. We post. In a drive thru, fast food Christian culture, we’re trying to order up an entree of BE STRONG with a side of courageous.
And there it is… Help! We begin to learn to be strong when we step off the wheel of our own striving, look up and ask God for help. I have tested this principle and it is quite true. School is in session. Training can begin when I simply admit that I don’t know how to be strong.
Why did God tell Joshua to be strong, to be courageous and not afraid?
- God was sending Joshua to lead the people across the Jordan to take the territory He had promised to Moses.
- Joshua would have to lead men into battle, but God would give them victory.
How was Joshua to achieve strength, courage and fearlessness?
- Believe God’s promise.
- Trust God would be with him in every step.
- Show up for battle.
- Obey God’s commands.
What did God want Joshua to learn from God’s command to be strong?
- God wanted Joshua to be trained to trust God’s faithfulness, to obey, and to rely on God in everything he purposed to do.
As I awaken each day, preparing for spiritual battle, it’s essential that I go beyond the simple verse of the day quotables and look at the context of what God is teaching me. Be strong. It’s not a quick fix. Nor is it a pep talk. It’s a declaration of God’s character, and His servant’s (me) position of trust and service.
Spinning on the wheel of my own striving has never made me strong. It’s not taught me about God’s character. Nor did it teach me to trust God or believe He is a promise keeper.
Spinning. Striving. It made me tired. Discouraged. Hopeless. Fearful. But when my own strength gave out, I cried out to God for help. He was there. He heard me. And He arrived ready to teach.
Finally, I’m learning what it really means to be strong.
That’s how I see it. What do you think?
Eyes on Jesus and SHINE,