Christianity is not for the faint of heart. Yes, it is the greatest life that one could live, but it is also full of challenges from the opposition of the outside world. Paul said, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). How can we successfully overcome the challenges set before us? Consider the strength and courage of Joshua as a model.
Four times in Joshua chapter one, Joshua is told to “be strong and courageous” (Josh. 1:6, 7, 9, 18). The word “strong” has to do with an inner resolve to prevail. It is a stick-to-itiveness that never stops. “Courage” implies resoluteness. Like a massive tree with an extensive root system, Joshua was to possess a firm and steadfast determination to move forward as the leader of God’s people, and not be moved by the challenges which awaited him.
Joshua was to be strong and courageous to obey the commands of God (Josh. 1:6) and to keep the law of God (Josh. 1:7). But his strength and courage were never intended to generate from within himself. Jehovah said,
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 (Josh. 1:5).
God was his strength. The fact of God’s presence, power, and protection was the source of his confidence. As David said, “The Lord is my strength and my shield…” (Ps. 28:7).
Like Joshua, we find ourselves traveling through a world filled with opposition. Also, like Joshua, we must be strong and courageous because we serve a God who is with us. The Hebrews writer referenced Joshua 1:5 when he wrote, “…For He Himself has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper: I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Heb. 13:5-6). Joshua understood this fact and so must we.