Have I not commanded you? “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1: 9

 

And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.”

Matthew 17: 7

 

What is there to fear? Why has the subject of fearlessness been on the lips of God throughout history? God knows that we humans are not so very strong and courageous on our own. He has watched us shrink away from the brave act and the bold statement far too many times to count.

I am painfully aware that my own experience of boldly going where the Lord calls me to go is not very different from Joshua’s; and from Peter, James, and John’s. The Lord felt the need to tell all of us that we did not need to be afraid when we are in His presence, and we do not have any reason to be afraid when He is present with us, either.

Through God’s gracious love we can stand tall in this life. This is not because of prideful arrogance, but it is due to Christ’s transformational work in our hearts. As we have been dressed in the purity of Christ and given a place in the throne room of God, our life in the here and now has been elevated to one that is to be lived in the glory and the honor that is God’s. We simply need to recognize our new reality, and we need to decide to surrender to Christ’s work in us so that we can live in it.

 

Jesus tells us to, “Arise”. He wants us to get up out of our self-imposed misery of fear and doubt, and He will take us into the adventure and the glory of His purpose. Even when there are fearsome giants or powerful Pharisees waiting to attack us, we can face the day with the boldness of Christ. and we can claim the victory over evil that He has already won. Christ will take us forward into the promised land of a life in which every minute is lived in God’s purpose, with His blessing, and surrounded by His glory.

 

Have I not commanded you? “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1: 9

 

There is a very interesting characteristic that God brings into His relationship with me and with all of His children. The Lord provides instruction, direction, and commands that we approach life in certain ways; yet, He never tells us to go forth and do it out of our own resources and in our own strength. We usually have the option of doing it that way, but when we exercise that option, we are doing so because of our own unwillingness to open up our level of need to God and, at least for me, due to a stubborn drive to do things on my own, in my own time, and using my own comfortably familiar resources. Why do I keep on doing things this way? My guess is that this is part of the life-long learning process that is also central to my relationship with God.

 

In Christ, I have been given everything that I will need to navigate through life successfully; yet, my capacity to trust Him, and the consistency and the depth of my faith are still in their formative years. Although deeply invested in mid life, I get to go back to childhood and learn to walk again. Despite a life-long relationship with God, I find myself behaving as if we just met. When this happens, He proves the silliness of all of my reluctance to do things His way, for it seems that when I have been the most stubborn and when I have been behaving in the worst of my “I’ll do it my way” isolated decision making and responses to life’s challenges, the Lord is His most loving and involved with me.

 

While I am in the middle of all of my worry and concern, God’s hands will be on my shoulder. When I am heading in the wrong direction, His voice will speak telling me to change my path; and regardless of the mess that I have made of things, the Lord provides me with the resources to return to a place where I can serve His will. Living life requires strength and courage. It is very easy to become frightened and overwhelmed by all of the dangers, challenges, and potential disasters that exist in our world. That is why Christ goes with us every step of the journey. The strength that we require comes from His mighty hands, the courage from His immense heart, with His wisdom we can be truly fearless, and God’s absolute love drives away worry and concern.