Joshua 1:6-9 (NIV)
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and courageous. Be careful to obey all the laws my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; mediate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you: Be strong and courageous? Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Many of us desire to be confident, but fear often gets the best of us. We are afraid that we will be rejected by others. We are afraid we might fail, or that somehow we won’t quite measure up. This is the point where we must begin to challenge our thinking. This week as I am personally battling through a bit of discouragement; I have been reflecting on the command that God gave to Joshua. I think we can all be encouraged by it. Be blessed.
Over the years I have been asked if I am afraid to step out and speak about God to others. You bet I am! Not so much today, but back in 2006 when I first began writing these devotions I experienced some ridicule and persecution for sharing God in such a public manner. This happens because not everybody gets it and I totally understand that. There was a time in my life when I didn't get it either. I made a decision back in 06 that obedience to God's Word would have to trump personal opinion. I came to this conclusion because I began to unpack God's Word for myself and discovered that His commands are clear. I have to say that the hardest part of ridicule and persecution is when it comes from someone you love. When this happens; you must not forget that even Jesus’ own family didn't always get it. (John 7:5) And, most importantly do not lose sight of who you will give an account to at the end of your lifetime.
Confidence is linked to faith, and faith is the opposite of fear.
In order to develop a confidence in anything you are called to do, you have to allow God to empower you. I love what God told Joshua in the Old Testament; “Have I not commanded you: Be strong and courageous? Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I believe this and I have seen God work it out in my own life. There have been many blessings that have come from obedience. And, there have been many consequences for the times that I chose to do things my way.
Before we move forward let's stop to ask ourselves a few questions.
1. Do I really believe in God?
2. Am I willing to obey His Law?
3. Can I make time to learn and meditate on His Word?
4. Do I want to?
In our society, people measure prosperity and success as having power, influential personal contacts, and a relentless drive to get ahead no matter how many people they have to climb over to get there. The strategy that God taught Joshua goes against such criteria. He said that for Joshua to succeed he must be strong and courageous because the task ahead would not be an easy one. He told him to obey God’s law and to read and study the Book of the Law which is God’s Word. In short, I have concluded that in order to be successful, I will need to follow these same guidelines. It really isn't about me at all. It’s about what God desires to do through me.
I may not succeed by the world’s standards, and not everyone will always understand my passion to work for God, but in God’s eyes I will find favor. When God tells us to go and tell (Matthew 28:19), or go and be, we might consider doing just that. You don't have to have a public platform and you don't have to know it all. God is simply asking you to be a courageous child when it comes to helping others know "the way," (John 14:6)
Sadly, I often hear people say "I don't want to talk about God or I'm a private person when it comes to my faith.” Then, there are those who claim they are not comfortable about speaking about God, so they don’t. I wonder if they truly understand the depth of what they are alluding to. We can not overlook the words found in the Gospel of Luke 9:26 where Jesus clearly states "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels."
God sent His only son to suffer the penalty for my sins and for yours. I owe Him something for that. The least I can do is use the gifts He has provided to me. I may not conquer all things, but as I face tough situations, difficult people, ridicule, persecution, and the many temptations of this world, I will remember God’s beautiful words to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous.” I will also hold onto God's promise to never leave or forsake me. By asking God to direct our paths we can learn to conquer many of life’s challenges. Ask God today to help you build your confidence. Then honor Him by telling someone of what He has done for you.
Additional scripture reading: John 14:25-28, Psalm 56
Book suggestion: A Confident Woman by Joyce Meyers
Father, help us to see ourselves as you see us. When we discover something in ourselves that is contrary to your Word, please help us recognize and change it. David tells us in Psalm 56:4 that it is important to praise your Word and to trust in You so as not to be afraid. Help us to learn this lesson so that we can walk confidently as daughters of the Most High. In Jesus’ Name I offer this prayer, AMEN.
In Christ by grace,
In Christ by grace,