Courage! I have a difficult time saying this word without going into the voice of the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz. I revert back to my early childhood as my Mom got me to walk to school singing, “Lions and Tigers, and Bears, oh my!” I was a bit of a stubborn child and loved the Wizard of Oz so it worked to get me walking.
What comes to your mind when courage is mentioned?
A soldier going into battle?
Skydiving from an airplane?
Each one of these take courage at different levels.
How about being obedient to God’s will for your life; or standing on God’s Word when it is not the popular thing to do?
Would you consider these things courageous?
In Joshua chapter 23, Joshua has come to the end of his life and he is saying his farewell the the nation of Israel. He reminds them of all that God has done for them and what He still plans to do in the future. Then he makes this statement, Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left, and lest you go among these nations, these who remain among you. You shall not make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause anyone to swear by them; you shall not serve them nor bow down to them, but you shall hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day. Joshua 23:6-8
Read that again.
He tells them to be very courageous to obey God’s law and stand firm in their faith, not being drawn into the false beliefs of those around them.
This takes courage and lots of it.
Think about the world we live in today.
We live in a rapidly changing culture where it seems everything is in chaotic motion; where what is accepted today will be taboo next week. As believers and followers of Jesus, this is difficult to say the least. We increasingly find our faith challenged, ridiculed, and outright attacked; insisting we conform the the ever-changing culture.
The truth is, the TRUTH never changes. As followers of Jesus, this should give us a peace that the rest of the world doesn’t have. While the world around us is in constant turmoil, we can rest in the stability of who our God is and who we are in Him. However this takes an incredible amount of courage. Unless we seclude ourselves and live as a hermit, (and trust me, I’ve been tempted more than once) we have to live in this culture that is becoming increasingly hostile to what and Who we stand for.
How do we strengthen ourselves and stand courageous in this world we live in?
The Cowardly Lion went to the Wizard of Oz who told him everything he needed was already inside him. The same is true for us. God has already given us the tools we need to not only stand courageous but to thrive in this world helping others along the way to do the same. We have His Holy Spirit and His Word. We so often forget this and revert to relying on our own abilities which causes us to fear and to stumble.
Consider some of Paul’s final words to Timothy.
But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:10-17)
I encourage you my friend to draw from what God has already given you and stand courageous where He has planted you.
To quote the Cowardly Lion, “What makes a king out of a slave?
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