Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
Moses had died and Joshua was now the leader of the Israelites. He was the one to lead them across the Jordan river into the land of Canaan. It was not going to be a simple and easy task to do, with over a million people. Yet, God commands him to be strong and courageous because He will be with him.
Fear is an extremely common factor in many people’s lives. It is common for people to fear something. They fear losing a job, a sickness, death, ridicule, persecution, and many other things.
The other thing most people have is discouragement. Things did not go as planned and so they are discouraged. Often people try something over and over, and keep failing. After a time of trying, they start to get discouraged, thinking that they will never be able to accomplish the required task.
As Joshua was leading the people into the land of Canaan, there would be many challenges and setbacks. Many battles would be won, while some would be lost. The challenge of getting across the Jordan River would be faced. The failure of the people or individuals would create problems. It would be easy to get discouraged and start to fear that God’s plan would never happen.
In your life, there has most likely been some serious challenges. In some of those, there has most likely been some failures. It would be easy to start to fear and be discouraged.
Yet, God is with you. As He commanded Joshua to not be afraid or discouraged and to be courageous, God is saying the same things to you today. Jesus said that He would be with you and that He has given you all authority and power. Jesus said to not be afraid.
What are you fearing? God knows what is best for you.
Why are you discouraged? God has plans for you and He is in control.
Are you trusting God’s plans for your life?
Or do you trust your own plans and get discouraged when they don’t work?
I pray today that you will know the plans God has for you; that you will trust God in your life; that God’s love will remove all fear; that you will not be discouraged when God changes your plans; and that God will use you to do great things.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10
As Paul is bringing his letter to the Ephesian church to an end he gives on final summation of what needs to happen. Throughout the book he had given a variety of ways for the people to live their lives before God. Living like God in this unholy world that hates God can be a challenge. It goes against all the normal ways of the world. A weak person cannot do it, so Paul tells the people to be strong….in the Lord and in His power.
People everywhere like to be strong in themselves and do things on their own. Very few people like to rely on the help of someone else. It is embarrassing to men to have to ask for or rely on someone else’s help. Women everywhere are fighting for their rights to prove that they can do everything the men can do.
When a person has to rely on someone’s help, it means that they have failed at being able to do something themselves. It means that they are not strong enough.
Right after this verse Paul tells the people to put on the full armor of God. This need for strength and the battle are against all spiritual forces that are against God. The world is trying to get you to compromise your stand with God. They want you to sin alongside them.
Since you are human and have been born and raised in a sinful world, you will not be able to fight against it on your own. You will sin and you will not be able to love others as God does. It is only when you rely on the strength that God has can you love others as He does and not sin. It is His truth and love that will give you the power to say no to temptations that will come your way.
God had created the universe and everything in it. He has the power to overcome all sin. He has the power to help you love those who are unlovely.
Will you rely on His power? Will you trust in His strength for you? Or will you try to do it all on your own?
I pray today that you will know the power God has for you; that you will not try to live on your own strength; that you will seek God for the strength to live for Him and like Jesus; and that God’s power will be revealed in your life to others.
“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God–or rather are known by God–how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again.” Galatians 4:8-9
Before a person accepts and follows Jesus he is a slave to sin. This is automatic with absolutely no control over whether this happens or not. Every person on this earth is born with a sinful lifestyle. They are born as a slave to sin and cannot stop it on their own.
The world is completely enslaved in sin. Every action in this world done by the world, can be found in based in sin. Many actions are easily seen as sinful, such as: adultery, murder, and theft. Others are not so clear, yet are still sin: greed, envy, hatred, gossip, cheating and many more. Even some things that appear good, are based in sin. There are some wealthy people who seem to give large amounts of money away. On the surface it looks like loving charity, underneath it is just for a tax write-off, greed.
Once a person turns to Jesus and chooses to follow Him, he is no longer a slave to sin. He has a new master–God. Sin has one power and that is to bring death. Jesus had the power over death. He can overcome death because He overcame it Himself.
Paul is asking the people of Galatia why they are turning back to sin. Why were they choosing to be enslaved by sin again? The world and it’s ways are weak and miserable compared to God’s power. The world cannot figure out how to beat death, while Jesus has already beaten death.
You know God and are known by God. God is the greatest power in the entire universe. Why would you want to go back to the things of this world? Who are you choosing to be a slave to?
You are either a slave to (following and obeying) the world and it’s ways or you are a slave to God. Don’t turn back to the weak powers. Keep your eyes and life focused on God. Serve and obey God in everything. He is the greater and best power.
I pray today that you will know God intimately; that you will allow yourself to be enslaved by God; that you will obey and serve God alone; and that you will not turn back to the world.