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The Qualities of Courage
Watch on YouTube – https://youtu.be/IXSspg0F-mM
Listen to Audio – https://mega.nz/file/HR1h0DJC#jmS5vQbGAFI7r4G-qtjzZpOqBP4UANRPdhwesQVlllw
Tonight’s message is going further into our message from the other morning on practical faith, and the faith it takes to live in God’s purposes for our lives, and I am taking this from the same example given in Joshua’s life when he was preparing to enter into the Promised Land, or in our case, the promises of God.
Possessing courage entails several qualities that enable us to face difficulty, danger, disappointment, despair, death, and whatever other dreadful “D” life throws at us.
Courage is when we decide to put our faith in action. Therefore, to have courage is to act in accordance with our beliefs. If we say we believe in something we should be able to stand for that belief no matter what.
Courage, therefore, is something we need to face the future, especially a future that is so uncertain as what we are facing today with the Coronavirus pandemic, racial violence, and economic devastation.
We need courage so that we’re not paralyzed by fear or anxiety. We need courage so we don’t compromise our convictions due to these difficult circumstances.
The Apostle Paul said that God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).
Further, courage isn’t about being a super hero, but rather it’s about having the courage to face life’s everyday challenges. It’s the choices we make. It’s choosing between what is right over what is convenient, or choosing our convictions over comfort.
In short it takes courage to be a Christian. It takes courage obey God and enter into the fullness of our inheritance as children of God.
It was such an act of courage and belief that saw the Apostle Peter boldly standing in defense of the faith after healing the crippled man before the gate called Beautiful.
Now, remember this is the same Peter who ran away from these Jewish authorities when Jesus was arrested, and the same Peter who denied even knowing Jesus for fear of his life. But now he is standing up for Jesus before these very same men.
Unfortunately, many of us don’t believe we can be courageous like Peter, or those men and women of faith we read about in the Bible or in biographies of the church during those times of reformation and revival.
Many of us see ourselves like Joshua and the way he felt when he was about to lead the people from out of the wilderness and into God’s Promise Land.
You see, several times the Lord had to say to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous.”
It would seem that the Lord was seeing a fear within Joshua.
The Lord said, “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.” (Joshua 1:9 NKJV)
Joshua probably felt weak and incapable of this task. I mean who wouldn’t following such a strong leader like Moses, and yet, not even Moses could lead them into the Promised Land, therefore, who did Joshua think he was to accomplish what Moses failed at.
But God encouraged him, which means God gave Joshua courage so that he could fulfill his purpose and calling?
There’s a lot to be learned from Joshua’s life and the conversation God had with him that speaks to this topic of what courage should look like.
One of the more popular definitions of courage is that courage isn’t the absence of fear; rather it is moving forward in spite of our fear.
This reminds me of a story of two young boys who visited a dentist. The first boy said, “Doc, will you pull a tooth right now? Don’t need no gas or Novocain, just yank it out.”
The Dentist said, “Sure, now that’s what I call being a brave and courageous lad. Now, which tooth do you want pulled?”
The boy then turned to his friend and said, “Come on Jimmy, show the Doc your tooth.”
I really like what Martin Luther King Jr. said about courage. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
So, let’s take a look at these qualities of courage from Joshua’s life in chapter one
1. Be Faithful
Joshua was a faithful servant
“After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant.” (Joshua 1:1 NKJV)
Joshua realized long before this that God had called him to be Moses’ assistant. That was it, and Joshua was okay with that. Joshua was faithful to what God called him to be.
For 40 years Joshua faithfully served and never once did he rebel against God’s placement of him as an assistant, as a servant. He never grumbled or complained about the hardships or what he thought Moses should be doing, or what he thought Moses was doing wrong. He faithfully served behind the scenes. This is the type of person God uses.
One of the first lessons a leader learns is that to be a leader a person must first be a faithful follower.
Speaking on the topic of which instrument was the hardest to play, celebrated composer and conductor, Leonard Bernstein, said, “I can always get plenty of first violinists, but to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm, now that’s a problem. And yet if no one plays second, we have no harmony.”
Joshua needed to be a faithful assistant for Moses to fulfill God’s calling.
To be courageous we must be faithful in what the Lord has given us, because when we are faithful to His calling then there will be harmony in the church and in God’s kingdom here on earth.
God is therefore looking for faithfulness.
In the Parable of the Talents, Jesus said that the Lord would reward those servants who faithfully handle what He had so graciously given. Look at what He said and what we want to hear Him saying to us in the end.
“Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” (Matthew 25:21 NKJV)
God gave strength and courage to Joshua to possess the Promise Land because Joshua was a faithful servant, and God will do the same for us as we are faithful as well.
And so the first quality we see to be courageous is being faithful.
2. Be Filled with God’s Word
We live in a microwave world. We want everything quick. But there is no microwavable holiness. We can’t go to a drive up window at church and get an order of holiness to go. There’s no special formula or 5-step program to holiness. Holiness comes from time spent with God and in His word.
To be courageous Joshua needed to be filled with God’s word.
“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.” (Joshua 1:8 NKJV)
The Lord tells Joshua that to be filled with God’s word, three things need to take place.
a. Know God’s Word
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth”
To be able to speak God’s word we first have to know it.
Jesus was able to effectively thwart Satan’s temptations because He knew the Word. Jesus had an understanding of the Word and was able to use it effectively as a weapon against Satan.
This is at the heart of the Psalmist recommendation.
“Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11 NKJV)
This was also the Apostle Paul’s recommendation to Timothy.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 NKJV)
We need to constantly be in God’s word, and learn what it says if we want to live effective and courageous lives.
b. Meditate on God’s Word
“You shall meditate in it day and night”
To meditate on God’s word means to ponder it, that is, to turn it over and over in our hearts and minds. A cruder analogy would be to chew on it the way a cow chews its cud. In other words, keep bringing it back up to chew on it again and again.
This is what Mary did when she was told that from her the Messiah, the Son of God, would be born, and then from what she heard from the shepherds. It says, “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19 NKJV)
Mary continued to turn it over in her heart; she continued to chew on it.
When we ponder God’s word we meditate upon it until it becomes firmly entrench in our lives. It involves hiding God’s word deep within our heart so that we don’t sin against God.
This is exactly what the Psalmist did. He said, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You!” (Psalm 119:11 NKJV).
This word, “meditate,” in the Hebrew language means not only to go over a matter in our minds, but also it means we go around muttering it. In a way we’re talking to ourselves, we’re speaking God’s word into our lives.
And so the Lord is confirming that there is a direct connection between the mind, the heart, and our mouth.
The Bible says that as a person thinks in their heart, that is who they are, and it’s out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. (Proverbs 23:7; Luke 6:45)
c. Apply God’s Word
“That you may observe to do according to all that is written in it”
We need to obey and apply God’s word to our lives.
The Apostle James said, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22 NKJV)
James is saying that we’re only deceiving ourselves if we’re not doing what we say we believe in.
This is the same thing that the prophet Samuel told King Saul when he transgressed the commandments by offering a sacrifice to God.
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22 NKJV)
We could say it like this; either we start getting interactive with God’s word by obeying it, or God’s word will start getting interactive with us in judgment.
If we want to enter into the promises of God then we need to start obeying and applying God’s word in our lives.
And so to be courageous we first need to be faithful, and then we need to be filled with God’s word.
3. Be Trusting
To Joshua the Lord said, “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.” (Joshua 1:6 NKJV)
Joshua’s courage hinged upon his trusting God at His word.
God is faithful and will keep His promises. In verse three He said, “As I said to Moses,” and again in our passage, “I swore to their fathers to give them.” Joshua trusted that if God would keep His word.
It was such a trust in God that was exhibited by three young men in the middle of a godless society. Their names were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
The King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, built a large golden statue of himself, and commanded everyone bow down to it. And everyone did, except these three young men.
When questioned and then threatened with death by fire, these three young men responded with courage saying they trusted God promises more than Nebuchadnezzar’s threats.
“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18 NKJV)
Nebuchadnezzar was so mad at their response that he ordered the furnace heated up seven times hotter and threw them inside. But when he looked into the furnace expecting to see three burnt bodies, he saw four men standing, and the fourth looked like the Son of God.
Jesus Himself was in the fire with them because they trusted God and His word.
God told to the Israelites, “When you go out to battle against your enemies…do not be afraid of them…for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” (Deuteronomy 20:1-4 NKJV)
If our trust is in God, no matter what the circumstances may be, then God will give us the courage to not only face them, but to overcome them as well
Unfortunately, many find compromise more to their liking, and their courage and strength has left them.
Our mission at Living Waters Fellowship is to make a difference in our community and the world for Christ, and it takes courage to make a difference.
There’s a war going on, an interior war, a war for our souls. It’s a war between our flesh, which is our sinful wants and desires, and the Holy Spirit.
“Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” (Galatians 5:16-17 NKJV)
To fight this battle we need to be courageous, and to be courageous we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
To His disciples Jesus said, “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:11-12 NKJV)
Now prior to His accession Jesus told the disciples to wait until they were endued with power from on high, that is, Holy Spirit power, and then they will be those witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, and to the outermost parts of the world. (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8)
When we become shaken by the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, we’ll become unshaken in our stand for God.
And so when we become faithful, filled with God’s word, and trust God no matter what, then we will be those men and women of courage, we’ll be courageous Christians.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study