Be Strong and Courageous

Be Strong and Courageous by John Hoyte

Thinking back on what courage means, multiple representations come to mind, but one specifically separates itself from the pack. According to Merriam-Webster, “courage is mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty”. The word courage is acquired from the French word coeur, which means heart. Coeur comes from the ancient idea that our character and the best of our emotions come from the heart (Hoyte).

When speaking about courage, it can be seen from many different viewpoints. Within the scripture, Joshua Chapter 1 speaks of the term courage in a way that can inspire us all. Moses had been the Israelite nation's leader for 40 years, and now Joshua was to take over. We find God, understanding Joshua's doubt and fears, saying to him three separate times: "Be strong and courageous" and each time with a different emphasis. First, he promises Joshua, "As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you." The second time, he adds "Be careful to obey all the law." The third time we see his deep concern for his possibly nervous servant: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

As Christians, understanding strength and courage is something that needs to be understood and portrayed each and every day. No matter how external one’s situation is, be courageous through it all. For example, a friend of mine had all the money a person can ask for, the fame, and a respected life. A serious gambling addiction put him and his family at risk of losing everything. His mindset drastically shifted because it was such a thrill for him… even when losing. He felt he couldn’t turn to anyone, but external thoughts. These thoughts continuously broke him down mentally. This is not what god wants us to do! God wants us all to turn to him through the MOST difficult times and understand that he will be with us. He realized this through faith and understanding that God has provided him with everything he ever needed in the past and present. He was not alone during this battle. He was saved.

Like my friend, Joshua realized he was not alone. God promised to be with him in difficult times: "As I was with Moses." Being in difficult times myself, that promise has special meaning to me. God's second admonition, "to obey," is just as applicable. If I walk in obedience and love with my Savior, I can trust that he will give me courage. In spite of all my doubts and fears, God is patient and persistent in his encouragement. He will always be with me wherever I go and whatever I do. Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. Now is the time for strength and courage! With this awareness, we can come to the realization that God is our savior. He will forever be there for each and every one of you.

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