At some point in our lives, we all face fearful situations. Perhaps we dread poor health, financial problems, the loss of a loved one, or uncertainty about the future. Or maybe we’re afraid of failure because we feel weak and inadequate for a particular task or challenge. Whatever our fears may be, we must learn how to face them as God desires—with courage.
Joshua 1:1-9 was written long ago, but its principles regarding courage are still true for those of us living in the 21st century.
Fear is an internal alarm that goes off within us in some fashion when we’re facing imminent danger, feeling threatened, or feeling helpless to avoid or change the situation.
Courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables us to meet danger or face opposition or the challenges of life with fearlessness, calmness, and firmness.
According to 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV), God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. Furthermore, we have His promises that empower us to walk courageously through every challenge. God told Joshua, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success” (v. 8).
Daily meditation on God’s Word is the key to courageously accomplishing all that He sets before us. It includes five essential elements.
Reading. We must first know what God has said in His holy Word.
Believing. Then we should believe His Word and His promises.
Absorbing. Next, we absorb Scripture into our thinking so we understand it, and it governs our thoughts.
Applying. God’s Word applied directs our way of living.
Obeying. Knowing what God has said, we respond with complete and full obedience. This is the goal of meditation.
Although college courses and degrees may claim to make us prosperous, nothing can compare to God’s path for success. If we’ll meditate on His Word daily so we can carefully obey His instructions, we may not be considered successful by the world’s standard, but the Lord is the ultimate judge and the one before whom we will stand to give an account of our lives.
The command to meditate day and night doesn’t mean we must spend hours every morning and evening in God’s Word. The Lord can do big work in our lives if we’ll simply give Him ten to fifteen minutes every day. By meditating on His Word, we’re acknowledging that we need His help because we’re not smart enough or strong enough to direct our own lives. As our Lord and Savior, He has every right to tell us what to do, and if we do what He says, He will enable us to live successfully in accordance with His will and plan for us.
This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “Courage for the Difficult Tasks,” which airs this weekend on TV.