Monday, June 15, 2020

Don't Surrender to Fear

The tasks God calls us to do are often scary and overwhelming.

One reason for feeling this way is because we know that if completing the tasks depended solely upon us then they will remain unfinished. We are well aware of our weaknesses and the ways we have fallen short in the past.

A second reason for feeling this way is because of the unknown. We don’t know what the obstacles will be, but we know that there will be obstacles. Anytime we are moving with God we can expect opposition.

I imagine that Joshua felt this same way when he was called to lead the people of Israel into the Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 31:7-8 (NLT)

Then Moses called for Joshua, and as all Israel watched, he said to him, “Be strong and courageous! For you will lead these people into the land that the LORD swore to their ancestors he would give them. You are the one who will divide it among them as their grants of land. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Moses had been the leader of Israel for 40 years and he understood the difficulties that were involved with the task leadership. Like a wise leader he took the opportunity to encourage Joshua to be strong and courageous. Moses reminded Joshua that he could be confident in the task because God would go with him.

Deuteronomy 31:23 (NLT)

Then the LORD commissioned Joshua son of Nun with these words: “Be strong and courageous, for you must bring the people of Israel into the land I swore to give them. I will be with you.”

For a second time Joshua is encouraged to be “strong and courageous.” This time the encouragement didn’t come from Moses, but from God. Joshua wasn't appointed to be leader by Moses, but by God. God told Joshua that he can boldly lead the people into the Promised Land because God will go with him.


What a great promise to have as you begin to live out your calling.

Joshua 1:6-9 (NLT)

“Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 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.”

On the eve of venturing into the Promised Land God came to Joshua and affirmed the promise that he had been given. Joshua could be strong and courageous because God went with him.

In this passage we also discover God’s instruction to Joshua on how to be strong and courageous: to know and obey the law.

God established a covenant with Israel, and as Israel's leader Joshua was charged with teaching Israel how to obey the terms of that covenant. It was essential that Joshua knew, obeyed, and ultimately modeled covenant faithfulness to the nation.

As Joshua knew, lived, and taught the terms of the covenant to Israel, he would become more and more confident of God’s faithfulness to His promises.

2 Timothy 1:6-8 (NLT)

This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 
So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News.
Timothy had a task to complete. It was based on the talents and spiritual gifts that God had given him.

Even though Timothy was called by God and had the necessary skills to complete the task, there was a part of Timothy that was holding him back. If he was to accomplish his God-given mission he would face persecution and opposition. Paul reminded Timothy that God's Spirit gave him the courage and boldness he needed to accomplish what God had called him to do.

Followers of Jesus we are not to surrender to our fears. We are to go forth in courage and do what we have been called to do: to make disciples.

Yes, we will face opposition.

That reality shouldn’t hold us back. We move forward, confident that as we demonstrate our faithfulness we will experience God’s faithfulness.

We can go confidently into the world because we know that God goes with us. He has empowered us, through His Spirit, to be the strong and courageous people He called us to be.

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