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Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is making the right decision in spite of fear.
Fear can be a powerful, debilitating enemy. For some of us it can be all-consuming. None of us can escape it entirely. It rises unbidden, unexpected, ready to paralyze us with indecision. But experiencing fear does not mean that we have to be fearful.
In Joshua 1, the Israelites and Joshua, their leader, find themselves at a crucial juncture, about to enter the Promised Land. God gives Joshua a set of important instructions tied to a powerful promise, and these words are the basis for the Doorpost Song “Strong and Courageous” from the album This Is Love. Take a listen!
How do we keep from being fearful? How can we be courageous in the midst of fear? In the words of Robert Morgan, we need to preach to ourselves instead of listening to ourselves. We need to immerse our lives in God’s word so that when fear threatens to derail us we can call upon God’s promises. When fear rises up to paralyze us, the last thing we need to do is to listen to the voice inside that is certain everything is awful, nothing will turn out right, and there is no hope. Instead we need to stand up in the pulpit of our minds and declare the promises of God, overpowering and silencing the voice of timidity and discouragement.
And of all the promises of God, what is the most basic, the most essential? I will be with you. It was God’s promise to Joshua and the Israelites. It was Jesus’ departing promise to his disciples in Matthew 28:18-20. And it’s God’s promise to us today. Fear is unavoidable, but it does not have to make us fearful. We can be strong and courageous even in the midst of trial when we don’t listen to the falsehoods of fear, but preach to ourselves the promises of God.
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