Courageous Christians

Bible Book: Joshua  1 : 6-9
Subject: Courage; Determination; Commitment; Meditation

Courageous Christians

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

Joshua 1:6-9: "Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

Tonight we come to look at the subject, "Courageous Christians." In the passage before us it is important to see that God told Joshua on three occasions, in only four Bible verses, that he was to be courageous. Why would God say that to Joshua? After all, Joshua was one of the most courageous men in all of Israel. It was he who fought Amalek in the valley of Rephidim when the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness. It was Joshua who had courage and faith to believe that the Israelites could take Canaan the first time they stood on the border of the land. Why would God  tell Joshua to be courageous? Because, Joshua was facing new challenges and he needed to be reminded of the source of his strength. He needed to realize that he was not to depend upon habits, former experiences, past glories, or personality traits to get him through the present situation. He was to turn in a new way to the Lord for strength and direction. Look again at 1 Corinthians 10:11-12

"11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."

In other words, if you think that you can stand in your own strength, you will surely fail.

A perfect example of failure after greatness is seen in the life of Samson. He came to think that the strength he had was from his own efforts. He became distracted by things in the world and then when the Philistines overtook him he was actually unaware that the strength of the Lord had departed from him. That is the danger of the believer. We can get into habits, which we assume denote spiritual life and strength, but which actually leave God out of the equation. God calls on us to have the real thing.

A preacher once went to visit a man who had fallen out of church. The gentleman had not come in many years. When the pastor question the man about the validity of his faith in God, the man assured the pastor that he had in his past a blessed experience. He told his wife to go out in the garage and find the copy of his blessed experience and let the preacher read it. The wife returned without the copy of the blessed experience. When he asked why she did not have it, she replied, "Husband, I think the blessed rats ate your blessed experience."

We need to be careful lest we are depending upon past glories rather than present grace. We need to be careful, lest we think that what we have been determines what we will be. To truly possess all that God has planned for us, we must keep our walk with God fresh, current, and real. That is what this message is about. The Lord desired that Joshua understand that he needed fresh courage and current commitment in order to deal with today's problems. Yesterday's faith and courage will not suffice for today. Today's battle calls for renewed faith and steadfast commitments.

Three things were necessary for Joshua and the people to go on over and possess that which was already their possession.

I. Determination In Your Heart

When the Lord told Joshua that he was to be strong and courageous, He was sharing with him the place where victory for the Christian begins. Where is that? It is in the heart! It is in the will.

The two words, which are used to encourage Joshua, are deep and profound words when read in Hebrew. The word for "strength" is a word that means "to seize or hold on to". The word can mean "to catch or bind". The Lord was telling Joshua that he needed a fresh determination in his heart to lay hold of the commitment necessary to gain the victory in Canaan. Yes, the victory belongs to the Lord.

God had given the Land to His people, but they could not possess their possessions without spiritual - divine - determination to do so. The generation before Joshua had missed the chance to have what God had given because they lacked the faith and determinatin to take it.

We find this same message in others contexts. For example, the Lord tells us that those who seek Him will find Him. God does not hide from us, so what does He mean by that statement? He means that we cannot fully see Him, experience Him and know Him while we are so deeply engaged in this world that we shut out the spiritual and the heavenly aspects of our Christian walk.

Secondly, the word "courage" means "to be alert". It means to set up a priority, which nothing can remove. Think of a mother who faces an intruder into her home. She has a child in the house and because of that she will stare down a man twice her size and struggle with him to protect her child. She is bold and alert to protect her child. God says we must have that kind of attitude toward reaching our spiritual destiny. Don't let the devil come in and capture you and cause you to get bogged down in this world and miss the deeper, victorious life God has for you.

It all begins with determination. If you are not determined to know Him and to have all He has for you, you will never experience all that has been laid up for you. Yes, I said laid up for you. That is the context of the Scripture before us. God told Joshua that the land was already theirs. The word used to describe this means that something has been allotted. It means that it is in the bank - God put it there - but it is not yours unless you reach out and take it. Part of taking all God has allotted for you is found in having a determination that you will not settle for a mediocre Christian life.

Secondly, note that you need ...

II. Meditation In Your Head

Next, Joshua is told that he must also practice meditation. I am not talking about yoga or some form of humanistic meditation, but rather I'm speaking of planting the Word of God in your head and in your mouth.

Look at Psalm 1:2-3, which speaks of the unmoveable believer:

"But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper."

So, meditation speaks of keeping God's Word in your heart day and night. This kind of life leads to victory. The Christian who does this is strong, like a tree.

The, look at Psalm 119:15-16:

"I will meditate on Your precepts,
And contemplate Your ways.
16 I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word."

The word in this passage means to bow down. We are to bow to His commands and to His Word. We are to take this Word from Him and keep it so close that we are speaking it. The idea is that of musing and muttering the Word of God.

Psalm 104:34 states:

"May my meditation be sweet to Him;
I will be glad in the Lord."

You see in this passage that meditating on what God says rather than be led astray by the world leads one to be sweet before the Lord and glad in one's own heart. In other words, to bow down to God and keep His Word before us, pleases Him and gladens us.

Friend, if we would have victory, we have to read the battle plan. We have to read about the greatness of our God. We have to meditate upon the glorious victories He has won and the promises He has made. We must not let this Word get out of our heads, out of our mouths, out of our lives.

Now, please understand something here. We are not talking about some syrupy kind of meditation, where one walks around with a halo glowing over his or her head. No, this speaks of courage to fight the good fight. Picture Joshua in your mind. He is a soldier's soldier. He is a man of great strength and fierce battle experience. God is not telling Joshua to turn into a monk stashed away in a monastery - he is telling him to fix his mind on God's promises and through that concentration to go forth to face even the walls of the highest citadel of the enemy.

Then, look at one more thing the is necessary ...

III. Activation In Your Hands

Then, we must put into practice whatever God teaches and shows us. It is not enough to think good thoughts about the Scripture and about our God, for we must live out what He tells us to do. Yes, we must work at this matter of truly walking with God in victory. The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. We must do our part to be obedient to the Lord in every way.

In the great, old hymn 'Stand Up! Stand Up! For Jesus' we read in the last two stanzas these words:

"Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
stand in his strength alone;
the arm of flesh will fail you,
ye dare not trust your own:
put on the gospel armor,
each piece put on with pray'r;
where duty calls, or danger,
be never wanting there.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
the strife will not be long;
this day the noise of battle,
the next the victor's song:
to him that overcometh
a crown of life shall be;
he with the King of glory
shall reign eternally."

This sums it up. We are to go forth to face our challenges with faith, courage, commitment and a long view of time and eternity. The fight will not be long. You hear the battle call today, but the victory in HIs presence is just around the corner.

Do you remember David and Goliath? How did David face that giant? How could he go out, a mere young lad, while mighty soldiers in Israel's army cowered in the trenches before this mighty Goliath? It was simple. David was trusting David, and David was NOT looking at Goliath and trusting in himself. David was trusting God - He was looking by faith at the One who was bigger than any giant.


What are you facing today that seems overwhelming? God is bigger than your situation. I know you may not be big enough to handle it - but God is. Look to Him.

  • Have Detemination in your Heart,
  • Have Meditation (which means concentration) upon God's Word in your Head
  • Have divine Activation in your Hands

The arm of flesh will fail you, but the arm of God never fails.