This is a summary of the message Gareth shared on Sunday 27 Feb 2022. You can listen to the podcast here.
The most courageous person I can think of was my late dad. He was unwavering in his faith as he battled cancer. He stood for what he believed in, even when it wasn't popular. He stood against injustice time and again. I remember him jumping into his Cessna 182 airplane to chase after robbers who had just stolen a vehicle. He landed on the road, forcing them to stop and flee into the long arms of the waiting law.
Courage is the strength to persevere. It is the ability to in the face of discomfort, danger or difficulty. Courage is the willingness to let go of the familiar.
There are different types of courage. There is a courage of discipline, to remain steadfast through setback, challenge and rejection. Intellectual courage is a willingness to learn, change and adapt. Moral courage is standing against injustice, and empathetic courage is to be brave enough to try to see things from other person's perspective.
Confidence and courage are not the same thing. Confidence is the feeling you have when you think you can control the outcome. Courage is when you commit, knowing you can't control the outcome.
We can't control life (much as we may like to) so if we wait until we feel confidence, we will never move forward. We need courage to move forward. To grow.
You will never do anything in this world without courage. Aristotle
To TURN THE WORLD UPDISDE DOWN, we are going to need courage!
In Joshua chapter 1, Israel is in a liminal space metaphorically, a transition zone. They are on the precipice of something new, but not quite there yet. The wilderness is behind them, the promised land is ahead. And things have changed - their leader of forty years Moses has died.
1 After the death of Moses the LORD’s servant, the LORD spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’s assistant:
BIG CHANGE IS A BIG CHANCE TO SEE TO WHAT GOD SAYS
God is always speaking but big change can be an opportunity for us to lean in and pay attention.
2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now you and all the people prepare to cross over the Jordan to the land I am giving the Israelites. 3 I have given you every place where the sole of your foot treads, just as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will be from the wilderness and Lebanon to the great river, the Euphrates River — all the land of the Hittites — and west to the Mediterranean Sea. 5 No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. I will be with you, just as I was with Moses. I will not leave you or abandon you.
GOD ALWAYS POINTS US TO HIS PROMISES (NOT TO THE PROBLEM, NOT TO THE PAST)
God speaks to Joshua and shares six promises in v2 - v5. God will always speak to our futures, and we should only look to the past to see how far He has brought us. Hope is not realized in yesterday!
THERE'S A WALKING IN TO WHAT GOD HAS WON
The verses above speaks of action, moving forward,
PREPARE to cross over: there is sorting needed, what they will take with, and what they will leave behind. When we hear God speak about moving forward, part of the preparation is to decide what baggage we will leave behind.
Every place where the sole of your foot treads - Do you remember the Reggie's Rush, where kids got a certain amount of time to load a trolley with all they could get off the toy store shelves?! None of them stood waiting at the door, hoping the toys would arrive in their trollies! Yet, sometimes we stand waiting for what God has won for us to, instead of walking into it!
to stand against you - If someone is not able to stand against you, that implies you need to be moving forward!
Phil 2:13-14 says that we work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose.
When you work out what God is working in you will start to see the fruit of that. You have freedom from the penalty of sin, so now walk into freedom from the power of sin!
The problem is that it is not easy to switch from a lifetime of compliance, comfort and convenience to a new reality! In the wilderness, the Israelites were provided for - but with the promised land would come battles and farming - a move from consumers to producers.
6 “Be strong and courageous, for you will distribute the land I swore to their ancestors to give them as an inheritance. 7 Above all, be strong and very courageous to observe carefully (i.e. carry out) the whole instruction my servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or the left, so that you will have success wherever you go. 8 This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to meditate on it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. 9 Haven’t I commanded you: BE strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD (Jehovah) your God (Elohim) is with you wherever you go.”
YOU NEED COURAGE TO A.C.T.
Three times God instructs Joshua to be strong and courageous. Each mention is linked to something: to distribute the land (v6) to observe carefully the instruction (v7) to overcome fear (v9)
[A]ccept the task
○ What God has for you is big!!
○ Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.
[C]arefully Follow the Word
○ Heb 10:23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful.
[T]riumph Over Fear:
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. Nelson Mandela
Fear should be an indicator (that there is work to be done), not and instructor (that rules over you)!
2 Tim 1: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.
COURAGE IS A CHOICE (AND IT'S CONTAGIOUS)
God didn't tell Joshua to go on a leadership course, wait a few more years to learn how to be courageous. He simply said BE strong courageous.
Psalms 31:24 Be strong, and let your heart be courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD.
You can give your heart permission to be courageous. It is a choice, not a resource!
Courage is not a "hope for the best" but a decision to stand on the promises of God.
We can't control the outcome but we stand on a promise of the God who can.
Many years later, Jesus said something very similar to what Jehovah said to Joshua:
I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” John 16:33 (CSB)
I don’t know what it is that you may need Fresh Courage for, but I do know that Jesus wants you to be courageous.
Courage is a choice to believe and act upon the word of God. It is the strength to venture, persevere, and withstand. It is the ability to ACT in the face of discomfort, danger or difficulty and the willingness to say NO to the familiar so that you can say a bigger YES to the future.
Perhaps, today you need a Fresh Start, and you need to make a courageous decision to say NO to your old life, and say YES to Jesus.
Can you imagine how we could turn the world upside down by simply choosing to be courageous, rather than waiting until we felt confident?