In the opening chapters of Joshua we overhear God encouraging the young leader to “be strong and courageous”. We thrill at the thought of God speaking these words but we must not take this phrase out of context.
God is not saying to Joshua, “Okay, muster up some courage. Strap on your sword and be a good little soldier” No, no. If we try to be strong and courageous all on our own we will certainly fail. Joshua and the people of God were called to be strong and courageous only as they called to mind who God is. They had to remember that He had given the land, He would conquer the land and He would make them great in the land. So in chapter 3 when Joshua orders the ark of the covenant to pass ahead of the people into the promised land we understand what he is doing. He is taking the visible symbol of God’s presence and allowing it to take the lead. It’s as if he’s saying, “God is going before us and since he is leading – we know we can be strong and courageous in the task he has given us.”
In I Thessalonians 5:24 we read that “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” The truth is, as God in Christ calls us to do something so God the Spirit enables us to do it. That means that if God gives us a calling to undertake, or gives us a task to be done, or a word to speak, the Holy Spirit will give us the strength to do it.
So my friends, is there a task God has called you to do for which you feel totally inadequate? Do you find the demands of God in Scripture to be unrealistic? Do you know the right thing, but cannot do it? The answer to all these questions is trust God. If the Holy Spirit has called you to do something he will enable you. If he makes demands on you, the Holy Spirit is the one who will make it work.
As a result of all this, we too can be strong and courageous in doing what God calls us to do. I can confidently say that God has given us the municipality of Scarborough. I can boldly state that God has given us the community in which we live. I can confidently tell you that God has given you whatever school you attend, whatever place you work, wherever you find yourself God has enabled you to make disciples.
I can say this with confidence not because of our geographical location, (although that is helpful) or because we are so winsome and attractive (although many of you are) but because of who God is. He said that the harvest is ready to be picked and all authority is in his hands. It is with confidence and courage that we can “cross over” and follow wherever he leads.
With thanksgiving for you,