Joining God in His activity is never an easy proposition especially when you first start out joining Him on His mission. Why?
- Because it requires COURAGE!
- Because it requires FAITH!
- Because it requires ACTION!
It's one thing to sit around and talk about joining Christ on His mission and how important it is but quite a different thing to actually get up and do it!
Hudson Taylor the great English missionary to China was thought by many of his friends to be a bit odd because he was willing to give up all the comforts of England and go to that foreign and less modern place of known as China. What was the difference between Hudson Taylor and His friends? COURAGE! Hudson Taylor was able to muster up the courage necessary to go shine the Light of Christ in China while the others were to afraid!
But what is courage and where does it come from? If we can answer these two important question maybe we too, like Hudson Taylor, will be able to more effectively join Christ on His mission and go where He would send us! Maybe, we too will be able to shine the Light for those who are still lost in spiritual darkness and lead them back home to God.
Let me quickly answer that first question and get it out of the way. What is courage?
"Courage is the ability to do something even though it frightens you; it is strength in the face of pain or grief. Some might say that a courageous person is brave and bold; strong and tenacious; or tough and valiant. Courage is the ability to go out and do something when everything inside of you is screaming to not go."
Courage is one of those virtues that everyone admires and wishes to have but few actually exhibit it. Many feel that courage can only be found in just a few people and that most people will never attain it.
However, courage is a necessary ingredient for a powerful missional life. Just to be able to say, like the Prophet Isaiah,
"Here I am Lord send me",
Requires courage. But where does that kind of courage come from? How can ordinary christians develop that mental state that will allow them to abandon all to join Christ in His work? The answer is simple!
Courage is found in the PROMISES OF GOD!
In this post we are going to look at 3 Specific Promises that God gave to Joshua when He commissioned him to be part of God's mission. Joshua's calling is found in Joshua 1:1-9. Three times in those 9 verses God instructs Joshua to have courage. 3 TIMES! Why? Because God knew that the commissioning of Joshua was going to cause Joshua tremendous stress and anxiety and so God was reassuring him that he could have courage to do what he was being called to do.
3 promises to match 3 admonitions to have courage.
These same 3 promises are for all of Christ's Followers and when fully accept will give you the courage to join Christ also on His mission. Let's take a look at Joshua 1:1-9 to learn of these 3 Promises.
3 Promises From God
#1: The Promise Of Success
"Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory." (v. 3,4)
This promise to Joshua was based on a previous promise that God had made to Abraham and again to his son Isaac and again to Jacob. God had promised that Abraham and his family line would inherit that land as God's gift to them.
Notice that the verses say that it "shall" be your territory but it doesn't say, "it might be your territory" or "it's possible for it to be your territory". No. God said that the promise land WOULD BE THEIR TERRITORY and that Joshua would bring them into it to possess it.
IT WAS A PROMISE OF SUCCESS!
In Matthew 24:14 Jesus make not only a prediction but also another promise of success that's important to all of us who are joining Christ on His mission. He says,
"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." (NIV)
What's the promise in this verse? That the gospel of the kingdom of God "WILL" be preached to the whole world! Again, there's no if's, but's or maybe's! The Gospel of Jesus Christ will be preach to every tribe, nation, language and people group in the whole world. IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN!
So, when we join Christ in His mission of sharing the Gospel to people all around us we are guaranteed success! We cannot fail! Why? Because it's a promise of success. When you join Christ in making disciple of all nations you will succeed because Christ has already appointed it success.
Knowing you can't fail in joining Christ on His mission should bring you such confidence. Why wouldn't you join Him if you couldn't fail? Why wouldn't you have courage if your success was guaranteed?
#2: The Promise Of God's Word
"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. 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." (vs. 7,8)
This promise is stated over and over again throughout the Bible! The promise is simply this: Know God's Word, meditate on God's Word and OBEY God's Word you will be successful. It's really quite simple. Obedience to God and His word will bring the blessings of God into your life but failure to obey God and His word will bring about His disfavor.
Why is this true? Because God is the creator of all things and as such He knows how it is suppose to operate. When we operate our life according to the way it was designed we experience the blessings of a well operated life but if we chose not to live life according to the way God has designed it our life will break down and fall apart. IT'S JUST THAT SIMPLE.
It's like a car. You can chose to run your car and never get an oil change as it is recommended to get every 3,000 miles. And you can actually run that car for many miles that way. But eventually there comes a time will the oil breaks down and your car engine locks up and won't run anymore. The car will actually break down many miles earlier than it would have if you had just gotten the recommended oil change. Our life is the same way. We can live life contrary to God's owner manual, the Bible, for a while. But eventually your life breaks down and will die much earlier than it would have if you had lived according to God's word.
If you're joining Christ on His mission and living life according to the Word of God you are promised success in your missional endeavors! Look at the end of verse 7, "...that you may have prosper wherever you go."
Why Wouldn't You Be Courageous If Your Obedience To God's Word Promised Success?
#3: The Promise Of God's Presence
"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." (v. 9)
Here God tells Joshua that there is absolutely no reason why he should be afraid and he has every reason to have courage because He (God) will be with him wherever he goes. He said the same thing in verse 5:
"No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you."
God's promise to Joshua was to never leave him or forsake him! Isn't that the most encouraging thing you could ever think of? If God's continuous presence doesn't give you courage I don't know what will!
Listen to what Jesus says at the end of when He is giving the Great Commission to go make disciples. He says,
"and low I am with you always even to the end of the age."
There's that same promise for us that was given to Joshua! Christ has promised to always be with us as we join Him on His mission of discipling the nations.
- Why shouldn't we be courageous?
- How could anything discourage us when we are assured that Christ will always be with us.
These 3 promise that will give you courage are given to those who are committed to joining Christ (God) on His mission. Begin to join God in shining the Light of Christ in your part of this dark world but do it without fear and filled with courage.
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