A Time for Courage
By Dr. Charles Stanley
Watch A Time for Courage video.
Memory Verse: Joshua 1:1-9
I. Introduction: Fear is a crippling emotion. The Lord never intended for His followers to dread the future. Although we may feel afraid at times, we should never let fear control us.
One of my favorite passages on overcoming fear is found in the story of Joshua. God said: “Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go" (Josh. 1:9). The promise that God gave Joshua that day is no less true for us now. There is no need for fear when we lean on the powerful presence of the Lord.
II. Why did Joshua need courage?
A. Joshua had seen how the people rebelled against Moses. Now, he was in charge of leading them to take the Promised Land from skilled warriors.
B. In challenging Joshua to be courageous, God reassured him of His presence (Josh. 1:5-6). The Lord also promised the leader that he would find success if he faithfully meditated on and obeyed the Scriptures (Josh. 1:8-9).
III. What did God command Joshua about being courageous?
A. Courage is a quality of mind or spirit that enables us to meet danger, opposition, or the challenges of life with fearlessness, calmness, and firmness. Someone who has courage may still feel afraid but--through the power of God--can act with confidence.
B. The Lord wanted divine wisdom, not human logic, to guide the nation. For example, If Joshua’s confidence had been in himself and his military experience, he may have resisted God’s unorthodox but highly successful plan to defeat Jericho.
C. God also told Joshua that if he obeyed the law of Moses, he would have success (Josh. 1:7). In essence, this is the key to our success too. We no longer have to obey the laws given to the Jews in Exodus and Deuteronomy about sacrificial rituals and dietary practices. However, we should follow the moral commands given to Moses and the other biblical writers.
D. The Lord made a marvelous promise to Joshua: He would be with him no matter what happened (Josh.1:5). If you have accepted the Father’s gift of salvation, you have the same assurance (John 14:16-20; Heb. 13:5).
IV. What can we do to develop courage?
A. Meditate on God’s Word: Instead of just quickly reading a large section of the Bible each day, choose a shorter passage and really think about its message. Ask God for help interpreting and applying it to your life.
Meditating on God’s Word will:
1) Quiet your spirit.
2) Sharpen your perception (Ps. 119:105).
3) Purify your heart (Heb. 4:12).
4) Clarify your direction (Prov. 3:5-6).
B. Recall past experiences of God’s faithfulness: Remember the way you relied on the Lord in previous crises and how His goodness carried you through difficulties.
C. Observe the courage of others: As fellow believers share their testimonies of the Lord’s faithfulness, let their stories reinforce your faith in Him.
D. Ask the critical question: If I don’t obey God, what will happen?: Every action, whether good or bad, has a consequence. Rebelling against the Lord may seem like an easier path, but it will be ultimately be painful. Trusting and obeying Him always brings spiritual blessing.
E. Recall His promise to be with us at all times: The Lord told Joshua that He would never forsake him. Through Scripture, you and I have been given the same assurance today. Our omnipotent God has all power to guide us and bring success in our lives.
Are you facing a frightening situation? The secret to overcoming fear is to focus on God, not your circumstances. As you meditate on the Lord and observe His work all around you, problems will seem smaller and more manageable. Every challenge is surmountable in the presence of our holy, all-powerful, and awesome God. Take your eyes off circumstances and turn them toward your great Defender and Deliverer. The heavenly Father has all things under control––there is no need to be afraid.