How to Be Strong

Thursday, January 11th, 2024

God has been highlighting a couple of scriptures to me lately that I wanted to share. While we were shopping a few weeks ago I bought a simple white canvas wall hanging with a picture of a lion and the words “Be strong and courageous. Joshua 1:9”. Here is the full scripture:

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.”

God is speaking these words to Joshua as He anoints him to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land after the death of Moses. This is one of those scriptures that makes you want to lace up your boots. In a few short words it reminds us not to be afraid because God is always with us. If I was in charge of an army, I would have this playing on loudspeaker at the beginning of each day and multiple times throughout the day. A few chapters before this, in Deuteronomy 31, Moses said almost the exact same thing to the Israelites and to Joshua in verses 6 & 7:

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it.

Similar phrases multiple times within a few chapters is definitely something worth paying attention to. Imagine if we all had our own encouragement squad following us around all day and just randomly saying, “Be strong and of good courage for God is with you.” It’s a powerful reminder that we have a part to play in our walk on this earth. God’s part is that He is always with us. Our part is to continually gird up our soul and remind it to be strong and courageous. We have to be the keeper of our minds and hearts and not allow them to fall victim to the counterfeit offerings of the enemy. If our thoughts or emotions leave us feeling anything but strong, courageous and present with God, then we must take them captive and get them back in line with the word of God.

I want to go back to the first scripture. A few weeks ago, I was looking for a cover for a new Bible I bought. One of them had a ribbon bookmark with Joshua 1:8 printed on it:

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.

I instantly went to my Bible and realized that yes, this was the scripture that came right before “Be strong and courageous.” Sometimes we become so used to scriptures or portions of scripture that we neglect the verses around it that are often just as valuable. Just before God had told Joshua to be strong, He told Him to not let the Book of the Law depart from his mouth and to meditate on it day and night. This is what would make Joshua prosperous and successful. Isn’t that the truth?

Final Thoughts…

Being strong and courageous is not about us trying harder, wearing better boots or having better physical weapons. It’s about our seeking God in our own secret place and traversing our own adventure through the greatest book ever written. It’s not about running faster or jumping higher. It’s about soaking up as many Biblical truths as we can so that when our road gets bumpy Holy Spirit can bring to our mind the truths that will smooth out the way before us. Being courageous isn’t about being king of the beasts. It’s about recognizing our weaknesses and our sole dependence on every word that ever has and ever will depart from the mouth of God. Our being strong isn’t about putting on a mask to cover the parts that are drowning in hopeless trembling. It’s about collapsing into the arms of our heavenly Father and trusting He really is with us. There is no place we could find ourselves that He is unable to inhabit. He is the One that makes us strong. He is the One that gave us Life’s Instruction Manual. His mission is the one we were made to fulfill.